Artist Mehreen Murtaza – represented by Grey Noise
Mehreen Murtaza’s visual narratives intertwine a traditional context with popular culture. Taking their imagery from both Sufi culture and the skewed logic of science fiction, her labour-intensive digital collages are a virtual world that fuses the natural with the mechanical, where technology plays the role of challenging religious myth, superstition and ritual.
Found images – sourced from print, digital and electronic media – come together in her work to form intriguing collages. Lawyers assemble on streets amid a burst of sinister red; a Big Brother-like figure watches the goings-on from the heavens; and a superhero takes flight into a great gig in the sky. Those who are aware of political and social upheavals in Pakistan will find enough resonances in Murtaza’s work without being oppressed by the obvious.
Her work also reminds Fat Nancy of AES+F (Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky and Vladimir Fridkes) who explore the possibilities of combining modern technology, Hollywood cinema, fashion photography, advertising, mass media, popular culture and youth obsession with the classical aesthetic of old masters’ paintings. Like Murtaza, their digital collages of real life photographs and animated landscape/objects blur and defy the line between reality and fantasy, history and time, constructing a futuristic mythological metaphor for the present through their glamorous, seductive yet alarming, artificially hyper-realistic imageries.
Born in 1986, Murtaza lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan. Mehreen Murtaza completed her BFA from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore in May 2008, received a post graduate diploma in teaching from Beaconhouse National University in 2009 and was accepted for the Gasworks Residency funded by The Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust – Rangoonwalla Foundation Award, UK, 2010. She was invited to present her work at SITAC X (10 th International Symposium on Contemporary Art Theory) in Mexico City, 2012. Murtaza’s works have been acquired by collections such as the Museum of Monaco, DZ Bank, Frankfurt, Cartwright Hall: Bradford City Art Gallery & Museum, UK and Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi. Murtaza lives and works in Lahore.