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Setback for Lahore Biennale as artistic director Rashid Rana quits

Inaugural edition of Pakistan’s biggest ever contemporary show has now been postponed until next year

Rashid Rana the artist

The Pakistani artist Rashid Rana is no longer involved with the Lahore Biennale, and has stepped down as artistic director of the inaugural event which was due to launch in November. The biennale promises to be Pakistan’s largest ever contemporary art exhibition.

A spokesman for the biennale tells The Art Newspaper that it will now happen in February 2018. The new curatorial structure will be announced this month.

A statement posted on the biennial’s Facebook page says that “owing to differing views on the vision for the Lahore Biennale, Rashid Rana and the Lahore Biennale foundation were not able to reach a formal agreement on their proposed collaborative relationship”. Both parties subsequently decided to “amicably part ways and not work together”.

The foundation recognises that Rana’s concept and methodology for the biennial remain his intellectual property and will not be used. The artist declined to comment.

Earlier this year, Rana discussed his plans for the Lahore Biennale with The Art Newspaper, saying: “In the context of Lahore, if I really want the biennale to speak to ten to 11 million people, then I cannot do it through traditional gallery aesthetics or by importing certain kinds of works of art. I’m questioning the notion of art, what an artist is. And you can’t have an audience without the notion of art, so it begs the question: what is an audience?”