Figure 8. Ottoman heliograph crew at Huj during World War 1, 1917, The Dubious Birth of Geography Series
Inkjet print on Hahnemühle photo rag
Mehreen Murtaza translates early-20th-century strategies of collage and photomontage for the digital realm. Her discreet alterations of archival materials owe an equal debt to Surrealism and science fiction, and their rich visualizations of the strange, the Uncanny. A photograph of an Ottoman surveying expedition, telegrams dispatched from the future, a decades-old newspaper clipping and a floating stone amongst other artifacts, all lay the premise for dream logics, alternative knowledge, uncertain histories and the creative production of new and perhaps imaginary information to conceive a parallel reality.
Murtaza’s fantastical manipulations comment on our own belief in sources of historical information, but she also reminds us of the deeply subjective position from which artists such as herself make such archival interventions.
Mehreen Murtaza completed her BFA with Honors from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore in May 2008, received a post graduate diploma in teaching from Beaconhouse National University in 2009. She has been a participant of the Home Workspace program led by Jalal Toufic and Anton Vidokle at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon.
Murtaza was accepted for the Gasworks Residency funded by The Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust – Rangoonwalla Foundation Award, UK, 2010, the Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) Arts Travel Scholarship at Generator Projects, Hospitalfield House, Arbroath, Scotland, & London, UK, 2013. Murtaza is currently the Impakt Artist in Residence, Utrecht, Netherlands, 2014 and selected for the 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, artist residency in collaboration with the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (FAAM Residence Program 2014), Japan.
Image Courtesy | Grey Noise and Mehreen Murtaza