While relaxing on a rooftop garden doesn’t usually conjure up images of a murder scene, the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s terrace has combined the two very opposite ideas with its new “blood-splattered” exhibit by Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi. The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi is a bold response to global violence and the artist’s yearning for peace in the advent of war and man-made disasters. In order to achieve the gruesome effect, Qureshi splattered red acrylic paint into patterns of foliage, feathers and wings across the 8,000-square-foot canvas. Visitors to the garden are invited to understand the parallels between the difficult topics of life, death and disaster as they walk across the installation, which will be on exhibit until November 3rd.
Qureshi’s exhibit reminds viewers how violence – a universal truth for us all (take for instance 9/11 and more recently the Boston bombing) – wreaks havoc on our sense of stability and security. However, the piece also brings forth the blissful ideology that despite tragedy and sense of loss as individuals, there is hope in the despair.
“The dialogue between life and death is an important element in my work. Leaves and nature, for example, represent the idea of life,” explained Qureshi in a statement on the museum’s website. “And the particular color of red that I have been using in recent years can look so real, like blood. The red reminds me of the situation today in my country, Pakistan, and in the world around us, where violence is almost a daily occurrence. But somehow, people still have hope. The flowers that seem to emerge from the red paint in my work represent the hope that—despite everything—the people sustain somehow, their hope for a better future.”
The artist calls his work: And How Many Rains Must Fall before the Stains Are Washed Clean. Qureshi is the first artist to create a work painted directly onto the Met’s rooftop surface. The exhibition was made possible by Bloomberg.