Tariq Alvi’s work is highly intuitive and defined by elaborate, thought-provoking, and politicized collages. Alvi recycles and re-contextualizes found printed matter in an undisputedly idiosyncratic manner as he habitually draws from newspaper and magazine advertising, in addition to ephemera of the everyday. Producing both small-format works on paper and large-scale installations alike, Alvi's meticulously assembled cutouts involve a labor-intensive process of dissection first and reconstruction later. Paper cutouts of jewelry are gathered and arranged in the likeness of a patterned carpet, for example, while bank brochures are diced up and reworked as charming paper flowers.
The works thus comprising Alvi’s oeuvre not only reconsiders the worth of disposed paper products, but it also points to the importance of neglected quotidian objects—logs, tree trunks, and coins, among other items, combine with the collages and subsequently meditate on themes of consumerism, economy, desire, and commercialism.
Alvi has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Badischer Kunstverein in Karlsruhe, Germany, 2nd Floor Projects in San Francisco, Cabinet in London, San Francisco’s CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, and London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery