Courbet to GudRung: New works by Irfan Hasan

13 - 30 October 2015

Irfan Hasan was born in Karachi in 1982, and was trained at the National College of Art (NCA), Lahore, and part of the generation of Lahore School artists, graduating with a degree in miniature painting in 2006.  For the last ten years, Hasan's work has been stimulated by realism, and the work of Da Vinci and Rodin. In the last year Hasan's work has been shown at Canvas Gallery, Karachi, Grosvenor Gallery (Present-Reinventions) and at Leila Heller Gallery, New York (Ethereal, curated by Dr Amin Jaffer).


The present body of work has been created in homage to western old masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Degas, William Adolphe Bouguereau, as well as 20th century painters like Lucian Freud and Jenny Saville. During his youth Hasan's only access to the world of western art and in particular the work of the old masters was through misprinted and rejected art books, collected from Lahori bookshops and markets. The impact of these images on the young artist cannot be overstated, and his current work is largely influenced by classical western ideals of beauty and strength. It is interesting to note that the artist has never seen the original works that have influenced those exhibited in Courbet to GudRung.


His depiction of nudes carries a deeper meaning than that of the purely aesthetic, as the depiction of nudes is a taboo subject in his native Pakistan, and is not widely appreciated as an art form. Like the old masters, Hasan studied anatomy to appreciate the science and theory behind physical characteristics, so as to be able to achieve a more realistic depiction of the human form.


At the NCA Hasan specialised in Indo-Persian painting techniques, and here employs a method of opaque-watercolour painting, traditionally known as GudRung, to synthesise western classical ideals and traditions with ancient eastern techniques. Throughout his career Hasan has always tried to bridge the gap between east and west through a fusion of theory and practice. This technique allows the artist to create gloriously realistic depictions of his subjects in lifelike flesh-tones, and the opacity of the paint gives wonderful depth and contours to the images.


There will be an interview between Irfan Hasan and Dr Amin Jaffer on the subject of his new work at Grosvenor Gallery on the evening of 12th October at 6:30pm.