Saad Qureshi’s monumental sculpture addresses the sanctity of human life by confronting our species’ self-destructive trajectory, the misdeeds of man and society’s increasing alienation from our shared spirituality. The site-specific 9 meter long construction was modeled after a minaret, the traditional towers of Islamic mosques. However, Qureshi’s abstracted interpretation of the tower’s shape departs from literal references to the Islamic religion and instead emphasizes the phallic nature of this particular form, which the artist has broken in sections as a demonstrative gesture of the discord wrought by man.

Working together with his family to construct the piece, a collective method of production that he considers integral to the work’s resolution, Qureshi’s minaret embodies both the holiness of ancestry, as well as the profanity and terror incited by modern religious fanaticism. The sculpture’s burnt wooden frame has been half-filled with cement and then sealed with a mixture of wattle and daub, invoking the traditional habitats and simple building techniques employed by settlers in diverse regions spanning the globe. Utilizing Earth’s basic resources for man’s primary need of shelter offers a practical application of the classical element. Qureshi’s piece thus unites the literal use of Earth with its symbolic iconography: Earth as both a symbolic building material and a framework for sacred contemplation.

Originally inspired by reports of a suicide bombing at a mosque in Afghanistan, Qureshi describes this work as, “a metaphor that speaks of greater things…a messenger of the failure of communication and the brutality which ensues,” thus declaring a state of emergency for our earthly co-habitation, but not without hope for resilience. Within the sculpture’s core, viewers will notice the faint beating of a heart. This recording, taken at the moment of a baby’s birth, leads the viewer away from the horror of modern warfare and returns him to the divine rhythm of life at its most innocent.

Quicken was originally conceived and constructed as a site-specific piece for Gazelli Art House's Down to Earth show at Kingdom Street, London. According to the generous space available there, Qureshi arranged the three individual modules in a configuration 9 meters end to end. However, it is flexible in its configuration, and the three individual modules may be arranged to suit any linear site below that length.

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Stefano Giovannone
8 years ago

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