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Loose Ends: A Conversation with Tariq Alvi
by Joli Reichel


London-based Tariq Alvi is quick to admit his penchant for pop culture. He recycles riotous effigies from advertisements, pornography, and consumer magazines in his installations, often reconfiguring them into collages. Through his paper-based art, Alvi meticulously digests generic and overlooked icons of our disposable culture, visually calling for a re-appraisal of material worth. He has also mastered trompe l’oeil with cut-out paper, which he cunningly manipulates in homage to consumerism, civic conflict, and the elusive dual nature of desire and reward. His delicate dissections and re-assemblies exalt the ambiguities of politics, social belonging, and the authenticity of personal possession, leaving the viewer to decide questions of value.

Alvi has exhibited from Shanghai to London to New York City and in San Francisco at 2nd Floor Projects in 2008. In 2006, he was represented at the Frieze Art Fair by both Cabinet, London, and Diana Stigter Gallery, Amsterdam. Earlier in the decade, he exhibited back-to-back solos at the Gate Foundation in Amsterdam (2000) and Whitechapel Art Gallery in London (2001). Last year, his work was shown in solo exhibitions at Chisenhale Gallery in London and the Badischer Kunstverein in Karlsruhe.

Somewhere Between (exhibition and studio), 1996.
Detail of installation.


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