FAHD BURKI, Journey, 2015, acrylic and pencil on paper, 76 × 56 cm. Courtesy the artist and Grey Noise, Dubai. 

New Works

Fahd Burki

Grey Noise
United Arab Emirates Pakistan

The summer show at Dubai’s Grey Noise is minimal, an aesthetic that is heightened by the gallery’s vast warehouse space. Known for his strong graphic quality and geometric compositions, the newly created works on paper by Pakistani artist Fahd Burki display the artist’s foray into further experimentations with abstraction. The symbols in Burki’s previous works have been drawn from a variety of sources—from history and folk art to science fiction and pop culture—coming together to form a singular figure on the page. At Grey Noise, a play with space and smaller geometric shapes are seen in the artist’s new aesthetic shift, with works on paper delicately marked with soft hues denoting detailed yet repetitive symbols, shapes and grids.

The first piece that the viewer encounters hangs on the entrance wall. Crafted in washes of cool-hued acrylics and pencil markings, Journey (2015) depicts 15 equally spaced horizontal lines that run across the paper. Each bar encompasses different color variations, which, when seen as a whole, create a pulsating rhythm within the image. As suggested by the artwork’s title, Journey seems to document elapsed time of particular moments, evoking a sense of impermanence, where the patterns of the lines never repeat.

Burki’s works possess a variety of illustrative titles, with the majority related to the passage of time. Hung side-by-side, Dawn and Noon (both 2015) are drawn in pencil and lightly layered acrylic paint. In Dawn, pairs of pale pink and blue circles overlap. Each coupled circle are arranged to form diagonal lines across the paper, in contrast with a background of penciled, horizontal lines. In comparison, Noon contains groupings of shapes—right-angled triangles and circles—that repeat without a distinct pattern and are overlayed neatly on a dotted grid. Together, the works appear to dance across the stark, white pages.

FAHD BURKI, Dawn, 2015, acrylic and pencil on paper, 76 × 56 cm. Courtesy the artist and Grey  Noise, Dubai.
FAHD BURKI, Dawn, 2015, acrylic and pencil on paper, 76 × 56 cm. Courtesy the artist and Grey
Noise, Dubai.

Like Burki’s earlier works, the lines and shapes on the page are painstakingly drawn, as if digitally printed. Grids that look like graph paper and spreadsheets unite this suite of works. In Untitled 5 (2016), beige horizontal bars flow across the page, only to be broken up by two vertical lines that run down the page, creating a composition of three columns. There is a visual gradation of beige moving from left to right within each column. Randomly dotting the page are pale green circles that appear to be floating on top of the rigid lines, giving the work a sense of organic movement. The circles infiltrate the intervals as if passing between events, time or places, with the feeling that their situation is only momentary.

Burki’s meticulously created images are visually quite paradoxical in the way in which systematic lines and graph-style pencil marks juxtapose the movement and arrangement of the various geometric shapes. Mirroring the concept of time, which is both constant yet fleeting, the subtleties in Burki’s work encourage audiences to engage with the viewing process, thereby enacting another layer of temporality.


FAHD BURKI, Untitled 5, 2015, acrylic and pencil on paper, 122 × 152 cm. Courtesy the artist and Grey Noise, Dubai. 

Fahd Burki’s “New Works” are on view at Grey Noise, Dubai, until July 30, 2016.