Drawing on a wide range of sources including art history, mythology, poetry, theatre, religion, science and natural history, Raqib Shaw’s paintings reflect the artist’s unique vision. In paintings, works on paper and sculpture, Shaw’s approach is transgressive, an artistic journey explored through highly personal, opulent and fantastical imagery, offering a cultural hybridity that combines iconography from both East and West.
Shaw’s paintings are highly detailed, complex narratives, executed with enamel paint meticulously applied with porcupine quills onto smooth birch wood panels. In this series of paintings, the most autobiographical to date, Shaw borrows compositions from 15th, 16th and 17th century Old Master paintings, including works by Girolamo Mocetto, Antonello da Messina, Carlo Crivelli, Jan Gossaert and Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger. Rendering their classical architecture with exacting detail, Shaw transforms the religious scenes of the originals by bringing in elements of his Peckham studio in south London, the landscape of his childhood home in Kashmir, Hindu iconography and Japanese architecture. He also interlinks the series by including miniature versions of other works in the exhibition, depicted ‘in progress’. Shaw himself appears throughout these works in different guises; as the joker, a mime artist, and even a ghoul lying in his own coffin.
The richness of these narratives is captured in eye popping detail in this lavishly illustrated book, which includes large full bleed spreads and delicate tip-in images of the artist’s source material.
Contributors: James Hall, is a writer and author of The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History (Thames & Hudson, 2014). Andrea Schlieker, formerly Director of Commissions and Special Projects at White Cube, is Director of Exhibitions and Displays at Tate Britain, London.
Edited by Honey Luard
Designed by Stefi Orazi Studio
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