Animated Loop. Silent. 2016
Supported by Beirut Art Center
Ustad Mansur was a court painter in seventeenth century India during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir. Among his various miniature works, Mansur became most well-known for his precision in the objective depictions of plants and animals. These vividly coloured images of the natural world serve as important documents of the time, made in parallel with the advent of natural history as a distinct domain within modern science. Incidentally, many centuries later, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) named one of the craters on the planet Mercury after Ustad Mansur, though there never was any known relation whatsoever between the planet and the painter.
The video proposes an un-natural history inspired by this arbitrary nomenclature: images of a world inhabited by the plants, animals and birds painted by Mansur but with their identity interrupted, damaged and accentuated by the influence of Mercury.