FOST Gallery is pleased to announce Hell, Purgatory and Paradise by Adeel uz Zafar has been extended to 19 November 2017.
The exhibition title references Dante’s 14th century epic poem, The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia]. The allegorical poem details the afterlife journey of the soul toward God in three parts. Dante had not intended this work to be purely theological, even though the poem was representative of the medieval world-view as propagated by the Western Church at that time. Rather, it was a literary tour de force that reflected a deeper desire to understand the mysteries of life and death. It inspired Adeel uz Zafar to embark on a similar quest to make sense of the new world order, or rather, disorder.
uz Zafar’s earlier monumental works of plush toy animals wrapped in reels of bandage allude to the socio-political situation of his home country. In most of these works, the three-dimensional form of these characters are suggested only by the undulating folds of the bandages, there is an eerie hollow blackness beyond the weave. It is a hint to his country being in a perpetual state of limbo, always healing from a previous wound, but never fully recovering, before another wound is inflicted.
In first stage of Hell, uz Zafar reflects on some of the major conflicts around the world. The Sacred Scriptures series are a set of three open ‘books’ which feature detailed images of the bandage weave. There is no orientation to which the abstracted images can be read, the viewer is invited to circle around the plinth, listening to the accompanying soundtrack of scraping and incising sounds, recorded while uz Zafar was making the respective work. One is encouraged to make out what one wills, depending on his or her perspective when viewing the work. A nuclear holocaust is no longer just a threat, but a reality in the triptych Inferno.
The second stage of Purgatory is rooted in Roman Catholic theology, Purgatory is an intermediate state after physical death in which some of those ultimately destined for heaven undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. uz Zafar represents the catastrophic event of an erupting volcano with a polyptych of 7 images. The volcanic lava obliterates every thing in its path but leaves the land, with a clean slate on which to start afresh.
Paradiso, the last work the viewer encounters in the gallery, is hung at the end of a dark corridor. Miniscule in size, and set within an ornate Vicotrian-inspired vintage frame (the only framed work in the exhibition). The image is not discernible until it is before one’s eyes. And then the viewer is rewarded with a beautiful, ideal landscape in miniature. A promised land that is seemingly so close, yet unattainable. Perhaps life is about the journey, not the destination.
This is uz Zafar’s second solo exhibition in Singapore after his successful inaugural solo exhibition.