Brave New World: New work by Faiza Butt

4 - 27 October 2017

Grosvenor Gallery are pleased to announce our upcoming exhibition of new paintings and ceramics by the extremely talented Faiza Butt (b.1973). The exhibition opens during Frieze week, and runs from the 4 - 27 September 2017.


Faiza was born in Lahore, Pakistan; the stimulus for her practice is wide ranging, however she cites growing up in the shifting politics of 1980s Pakistan and observing the impact of 9/11 on the young Pakistan diaspora in Britain, as major influences on her work.


Her artworks are based on pictures scavenged from the media and advertising. In a bid to connect with the widest audience, and in response to the snobbery towards beauty in contemporary art, Butt deploys candy-shop colours and familiar forms to capture the spectator's interest before connecting them with globally important questions.


'Artists have a purpose in society. You do not make art to make anyone comfortable or to amuse people. Art is a language, a code through which you hope to make a difference.' Faiza Butt


Many of her works are mug shots of Muslim men found in assorted newspapers and magazines, reinforcing the stereotypical notion of the Muslim man as a terrorist. Yet, Butt decorates these images and beautifies them, making them a source of enjoyment and gratification. The subliminal power of the cropped journalistic image is assessed and exaggerated by the artist, as these portraits are enlarged to a dominating scale.


These images of men are represented with a fantastical narrative, objectifying them into a spectacle. In doing so, the artist is reacting to the portrayal of women as 'objects of desire' in art history. (Above: Metamorphosis I/II/III)


Butt's paintings are painstakingly crafted using a near obsessive technique of tiny dots - this style is reminiscent of the par dokht style in miniature painting - a meticulous process that involves the covering of the painted surface with individual dots.


One can trace origins of this style in Butt's work from the training she received in miniature painting at the NCA in Lahore. However these dots also replicate pixels structure of a photograph, on polyester translucent films. This is especially relevant given that the artist created these drawings from photographs in newspapers and magazines. Although she is aware of the Post Impressionists and the Pointillists, her work comes from an entirely different origin, and whilst the Pointillists wanted to capture the effect of light Butt is interested in capturing the splendour and contradictions of the Islamic tradition.