‘Probable Disbeliefs’ — A dialogue between mathematics and visual arts


The Canvas Gallery hosts an art exhibition featuring works by Aroosa Rana. Entitled “Probable Disbeliefs”, the exhibition will run at the gallery until September 22.

“Thought patterns generally correspond to the period to which they belong. However, time itself is a nebulous constellation of ideas, which challenges notions of conventional chronology in the formation of ideas and leads to new ways of doing things,” the artist said in the catalog published by the gallery.

“With the intention of identifying new forms of production and extending my practice across disciplines, I question the category, nomenclature and classification of a work,” she says.

“A video can also simultaneously be a painting or a sculpture; a work can be in two, three and four dimensions at the same time; a moment or an image can be still or moving at the same time; and a media work can allude to a sculpture or a mundane routine object.

She says the work also challenges the notion of space and dimensionality, and blurs the line between the physical and the virtual; therefore, often making it interdisciplinary at its core.

“In this recent series, titled ‘Probable Disbeliefs’, I initiated a dialogue between mathematics and the visual arts, and the works are the result of this integration,” says Aroosa.

“Mathematics, by definition, is a subject that deals with numbers, shapes, logic, quantity and arrangements. Mathematics teaches how to solve problems and find solutions based on numerical calculations. Art provides a space to initiate debates about poetics, self-expression and functionality,” she adds.

“I try to explore the possibilities of doing based on measured probability equations. ‘Probable Disbeliefs’ is a proposed solution to a visual problem. It uses the simple mathematical equation of probability,” she explains.

“Probability, by definition, is the total favorable outcome of an event out of the total number of possible outcomes of the event. The probability of a given event occurring constitutes 50% favorable outcomes, 50% unfavorable outcomes, and an inherent impossibility.

Seeing these possibilities, she constructed images of probable and improbable events within this mathematical equation. “In the language of statistics, an impossibility is just an impossibility, a non-reality, far from logic, whereas in the visual arts, even impossibilities have many images and limitless shapes.”

So, she asks, what is the absolute truth in such scenarios? “How is reality made? Is it the ultimate calculated truth without an image but with an idea? Or calculated truth with images of the idea? Possible or it doesn’t matter whether it’s possible or impossible!

Aroosa Naz Rana is a critically acclaimed interdisciplinary visual artist. She has shown her work in many national and international venues, including public exhibitions in museums.

Places where his works have been exhibited include the Museo Diocesano Carlo Maria Martini in Milan, Italy, the 7 Mediations Biennale Polska Koncepcja in Poland, the Museo Capitolare di Atri in Italy, the Colombo Art Biennale in Sri Lanka, the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh, Mississauga Celebration Square in Canada, Gallery Latitude 28 in India and collateral event at the Lahore Biennale.

His practice revolves around questioning the construction of the definition of 20th century art and offers initiates a debate on its poetics, its functionality and its relationship with sight, the watched and the spectator.

She mainly works in digital media and video art with inter-visuality and interdisciplinarity as main concerns. She lives and works in Lahore, teaching at the National University of Beaconhouse, where she is an assistant professor in the visual arts department.


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