Aisha Khalid
The Divine is in The Detail

Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde

September 2, 2013

Aisha Khalid
The Divine is in The Detail

10 September–10 October 2013

Opening: 9 September, 7–9pm

Al Quoz 1, St 8, Al Serkal Ave, #17
PO Box 18217
Dubai, UAE

T/F +971 (0)4 323 5052
info [​at​]

The Divine is in The Detail explores the relationships in Aisha Khalid’s work amongst geometry and precision with respect to the spiritual. The exhibition title is a play on the commonly heard phrase ‘the devil is in the detail’, in other words, the difficulties or problematics of specificity. While the phrase denotes a process that is painstaking and undesirable, this show approaches the detail in Khalid’s work as generative and rife with creative potential. 

In one piece titled Beyond The Right Doing and Wrong Doing There Is A Field, I Will Meet You There, a grid of squares made of triangles quietly morph into fluid lines, while dark shading and gold leaf create a sense of depth and animatedness. This encounter between color and line reflects the ambiguous ethical territory of the title, and interrupts the work’s atomized encounters of geometric forms. Such disruptions and conceptual leaps explore the transcendent power of rich patterns as well as the stories such lacunae in patterns can tell. 

Two individual pieces titled Wound is a Place Where the Light Enters You utilize a similar method to the aforementioned work. Folds resembling cloth encounter a field of gold. Yet, in this instance, the dynamism is a flurry of dark jagged forms at the center of this field. Red yields to gold, and the sharp spheres are submerged beneath red, revealing that while a wound is a penetration, a rupture can also be accompanied by openness to the divine.

Another duo of works is a diptych titled Yourself of Yourself which features two jackets modeled on the artist’s body and made of velvet and silk. One is black and the other red, with identical patterns save for the reversal of dressmaker pins extruding from the fabric. This mirroring captures the symbolic and actual pain that attends to the ambiguity within our selves and towards others.

Spirituality, logic and the mathematical precision of geometry inspire much of Khalid’s work, particularly in the discipline’s approach to God and the universe. She manipulates these elements to delve into the endless possibilities that these patterns offer and render geometry a kind of spirituality, drawing on the artist’s belief that mathematics is a form of ‘divine knowledge.’ 

Aisha Khalid (b. 1972, Pakistan) is trained in Mughal miniaturist traditions and is one of Pakistan’s leading contemporary artists. Khalid is part of a generation that has revitalised the traditional medium of miniature painting by juxtaposing decorative surfaces with deep socio-political subtexts around ideas about cultural expectations and stereotyping, the oppression of women and global politics. Khalid’s works encompass video, in-situ installation and embroidery works that extend the limits of her trained discipline.

Khalid has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions including Larger Than Life, Whitworth Art Gallery, UK (2012); Larger Than Life, Corvi-Mora, London (2012); Pattern To Follow, Chawkandi Art, Karachi (2010); and Conversations, Pump House Gallery, London (2008). She has been featured in group exhibitions at the 2009 Venice Biennale; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; and Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Khalid’s work has been featured at the Sharjah Biennale (2011) and Moscow Biennale (2013).

Important milestones in her career include acquisitions in permanent collections at the Sharjah Art Museum (Sharjah), V&A Museum (London), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Japan), and the World Bank (Washington, D.C.). In 2012 she was a winner of the Alice Award (Artist Book category) and a finalist for the Jameel Prize in 2011, and awarded the People’s Choice Award for her works Kashmiri Shawl and Name, Class, Subject.

For more information, please contact Barrak Alzaid by email (barrak [​at​] or by phone +971 (0) 4323 5052. The gallery is open from Saturday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm.