Tariq Alvi was born in Newcastle in 1965 and is now based in Holland, where he completed his studies at the Jan van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht. He has been gaining increasing international recognition and this is published alongside his first major presentation in the UK. The language of Tariq Alvi's presentations is borrowed as much from the market stall or the teenage bedroom as it is from contemporary art. His raw material is the wealth of visual imagery that is in constant circulation: newspapers, magazines, club flyers. These he meticulously collects, cuts and arranges over a variety of surfaces, reconfiguring each work anew each time it is exhibited. Collaged photographs, photocopies, newspaper clippings and hand-written notes create 'thoughts in progress' that cover entire walls. Standard corkboards are strewn with images of glittering jewellery; scissors, glue sticks and simple drawings lie scattered across everyday worktops. Alvi's work strikes a strong contemporary chord, revealing the fragmentary nature of contemporary experience from the hedonism of urban gay culture to the life-style options presented by a sensationalising media.
Alvi himself presents something of a role-model to a younger generation of British Asian artists, whom the Whitechapel began to follow and present in 1999 with 000zerozerozero, a cross-disciplinary three-week event which tapped into the British Asian 'underground' artistic scene. Many of the participating artists (such as Runa Islam and Simon Tegala) have since gained international recognition and the whole event presented an opportunity for debate and discussion. This publication provides an in-depth focus on Alvi's work to date and is fully illustrated throughout.