Raqib Shaw at the Met

08 November03 March 2009

New York

“Raqib Shaw at the Met,” the artist’s first solo exhibition in a New York museum, marks a turning point from his Holbein-inspired works to his new Absence of God series. In Shaw’s words, Holbein has passed the baton to Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778). The panel Absence of God IV . . . The Blind Butterfly Catcher (2008) shows Tudor buildings giving way to a setting suggested by Piranesi’s etchings of the abandoned vestiges of classical constructions.

Shaw’s distinctive enamel-like surfaces are created by using porcupine quills to apply metallic industrial paints. The jeweled colors intensify the hothouse atmosphere populated by the flowers, insects, birds, animals, and monsters of Shaw’s imaginary universe. Although the delightful colors and patterns evoke the Persian carpets, jewelry, and shawls that his family traded in India and Kashmir, the imagery derives from his extensive familiarity with Western painting, from Hieronymus Bosch (ca. 1460–1516) to Francis Bacon (1909–1992). Like both of these artists, Shaw reveals the violence and sex that lurk beneath much human behavior.

Raqib Shaw at the Met, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2008-2009. 



Exhibition Artworks

Absence of God I, 2007

Absence of God IV, 2008

Absence of God V, 2008

Absence of God After Holbein, 2007

Death, Beauty and Justice V, 2008

Anne of Chrysanthemums, 2007

Lais of Corinth (Holbein Suite), 2007

A Boy with a Marmoset (Holbein Suite), 2007

A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (Holbein Suite), 2007

Robert Cheseman (Holbein Suite), 2007

Young Henry (Holbein Suite), 2007

Simon George (Holbein Suite), 2007

Lady Guildford (Holbein Suite), 2007

Untitled, 2008