Basir Mahmood, Monument of arrival and return, 2016
Single-channel projection, 9:36 min.
Co-produced by Contour Biennale 8

07 >> 22.03.2020 exhibition

Basir Mahmood

11:00 >> 19:00

Basir Mahmood works with video, film and photography to explore embedded social and historical terrains of the ordinary. His practice weaves threads of thought into poetic sequences and forms of narrative and, in his film MONUMENT OF ARRIVAL AND RETURN, demonstrates this approach through the establishment of particular roles carried out by the film’s protagonists. A group of men are clad in the red shirted uniforms of Kullis (often derogatorily referred to as Coolies), railway porters under the British colonial rule of the Indian subcontinent. As one group enters a barren chamber, another leaves, under the apparent direction of an unseen instigator. Mahmood’s camera lingers unhurriedly on certain details: a trembling flower, hands clutching a parcel, a man bearing a pair of slip-on shoes, beads of sweat on skin. They drink water, offer their objects to each other, and wait. This languorous scene only comes to an end when they depart and, as the film begins again, another group arrives.
Mahmood worked with the Kullis of Lahore railway station, familiar figures from his upbringing in the city, in making MONUMENT OF ARRIVAL AND RETURN. He gave them instructions but remained otherwise absent, peripheral to the unfolding direction of events. As in other works by the artist, Mahmood often sets out parameters and structures but lets his collaborators, actors, or crew members, dictate the terms of their engagement. The work is thus not wholly his own but fulfilled as a gesture of openness, allowing individual agency and indeterminacy to stage a new narrative.


View on Map

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.Update my browser now