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Artist of the Day | Raqib Shaw

Raqib Shaw

Last Rites of the Artist’s Ego at Shankryacharya Temple (After Ludovico Mazzolino)

Acrylic liner and enamel on birchwood

82 1/2 × 55 1/10 in; 209.5 × 140 cm


Born in Kolkata in 1974, Raqib Shaw studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, where he first acquired a Bachelor’s degree (Honours) in Fine Art in 2001, and then a Master’s degree in the same in 2002. Steeped in multiculturalism and influenced by a varied number of sources, Raqib Shaw’s body of art is at once recognizable and alien. Drawing from a wide range of mythological, literary, scientific and cultural references, Shaw’s art oscillates between ornamentation and profundity with surprising fluidity. Starkly post-modern, Shaw’s works are stylistically and materially unique, constantly challenging the limits of form and texture. “Shaw’s highly worked surfaces vividly display the tension between flatness and volume. His painted objects are enamelled and gilded, and assume an almost sculptural presence as they precariously rise above the surface of the painting, only to be eventually re-absorbed into the flat picture plane. As the object’s volume vaporizes or dissolves into the two-dimensional plane, the painting’s aesthetic value achieves a more formal presence. Shaw propels the surface of his painting into new decorative dimensions and figurative heights – gold infills, diamond dust, enameled objects, the mangled memories of masterworks – while he explores the obscure depths of a personal mythology of life’s exigent and extreme experiences: sexual violence, ritual death, unrelieved anxiety, unbearable beauty” (Homi K. Bhabha, “An Art of Exquisite Anxiety”, Raqib Shaw, Absence of God, White Cube, London, and Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, exhibition catalogue, 2009). ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’, Shaw’s first solo exhibition, showed at Victoria Miro Gallery, London, in 2004, Deitch Projects, New York, in 2005, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, in 2006. His other solo shows include ‘Art Now: Raqib Shaw’ at the Tate Britain, London, in 2006; ‘Raqib Shaw’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 2008; and ‘Absence of God’ at White Cube Hoxton, London, and Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, in 2009. Raqib Shaw lives and works in London.

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