Modern Art in Pakistan: History, Tradition, Place, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Modern Art in Pakistan

History, Tradition, Place, 1st Edition

By Simone Wille

Routledge India

144 pages

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Hardback: 9781138821095
pub: 2014-10-24
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Modern Art in Pakistan examines interaction of space, tradition, and history to analyse artistic production in Pakistan from the 1950s to recent times. It traces the evolution of modernism in Pakistan and frames it in a global context in the aftermath of Partition.

A masterful insight into South Asian art, this book will interest researchers, scholars, and students of South Asian art and art history, and Pakistan in particular. Further, it will be useful to those engaged in the fields of Islamic studies, museum studies, and modern South Asian history.


‘Simone Wille's research has carefully traced a focused, influential trajectory of modern and contemporary artistic practice in Lahore . . . Revelatory and distinctive.’ — Iftikhar Dadi, Cornell University

‘[A]n innovative study which analyses the position of modern and contemporary art of Pakistan within the traditions of South Asia and modern globalisation. It is essential reading for experts in these fields but also . . . for those interested in the artistic developments of our times within the Islamic world and beyond its boundaries.’ — Ebba Koch, University of Vienna

‘What many Pakistani artists have accomplished through art practice finally finds a parallel in art historiography . . . Wille compellingly places modern and contemporary Pakistani art within the space of global modernism and art discourse without losing its specificity.’ — Parul Dave Mukherji, Jawa harlal Nehru University

'The artist Zahoor ul Akhlaq (1941-99) is the core of Wille’s original and insightful Modern Art in Pakistan…This book is illustrated in color, which is welcome since many of the artworks have rarely if ever been published. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels.'

--S. Khullar, University of Washington, CHOICE

"The book “Modern art in Pakistan” is a valuable reference to understand artistic practice in Pakistan, after the partition of the subcontinent back in 1947. Its author is Simone Wille, an independent art historian, writer and researcher currently based in Austria, whose research has basically focused on the development of contemporary art in Pakistan…this book offers interesting insights on the particularities of modern Pakistani art in relation to different disciplines from history to culture, politics and society. An excellent reading for those fascinated with history of art in general and modernist art in South Asia and in Pakistan in particular."

- Patricia Ordóñez de Pablos, The University of Oviedo, International Journal of Asian Business and Information Management

Table of Contents

Plates. Acknowledgments. Preface Monica Juneja. Introduction: A New Sense of Place in Modern Pakistan Art 1. Shakir Ali (1916–75) 2. Zahoor ul Akhlaq (1941–99): The Idea of Space as an Abstract System 3. The Legacy of Pakistan’s Modernism in Contemporary Art 4. Conclusion. Afterword Iftikhar Dadi. Bibliography. About the Author. About the Series Editor. Index

About the Author

Simone Wille is independent art historian, researcher, and writer currently based in Vienna, Austria.

About the Series

Visual and Media Histories

This series takes as its starting point notions of the visual, and of vision, as central in producing meanings, maintaining aesthetic values, and relations of power. Through individual studies, it hopes to chart the trajectories of the visual as an activating principle of history. An important premise here is the conviction that the making, theorising, and historicising of images do not exist in exclusive distinction of one another.

Opening up the field of vision as an arena in which meanings get constituted simultaneously anchors vision to other media such as audio, spatial, and the dynamics of spectatorship. It calls for closer attention to inter-textual and inter-pictorial relationships through which ever-accruing layers of readings and responses are brought alive.

Through its regional focus on South Asia the series locates itself within a prolific field of writing on non-Western cultures, which have opened the way to pluralise iconographies, and to perceive temporalities as scrambled and palimpsestic. These studies, it is hoped, will continue to reframe debates and conceptual categories in visual histories. The importance attached here to investigating the historical dimensions of visual practice implies close attention to specific local contexts which intersect and negotiate with the global, and can re-constitute it. Examining the ways in which different media are to be read into and through one another would extend the thematic range of the subjects to be addressed by the series to include those which cross the boundaries that once separated the privileged subjects of art historical scholarship from the popular – sculpture, painting, and monumental architecture – from other media: studies of film, photography, and prints, on the one hand; advertising, television, posters, calendars, comics, buildings, and cityscapes on the other.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
ART / Asian
ART / Museum Studies
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
RELIGION / Islam / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General