Raqib Shaw (b. 1974, Calcutta) is known for opulent and intricately detailed paintings of fantastical worlds, often with surfaces inlaid with vibrantly colored jewels and painted in enamel. His works reveal an eclectic fusion of influences—from Persian carpets and Northern Renaissance painting to industrial materials and Japanese lacquerware—and are often developed in series from literary, art historical, and mystical sources. Shaw has had solo exhibitions at Tate Modern, London (2006), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2008), Manchester Art Gallery (2013), Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2013), and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2018). His exhibition at The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom (2017) was reimagined for the Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh, in 2018.
New York—Pace Gallery is privileged to present new paintings by Raqib Shaw. The exhibition showcases Shaw’s first work in the long tradition of landscape painting, signifying a new direction for the London-based Kashmiri artist. Drawing inspiration from his childhood memories of Kashmir and the nature and architecture of the Indian subcontinent, Shaw has mined and re-envisioned his own personal history through the compulsively-detailed, meticulously-painted, and emotionally-potent works. Raqib Shaw: Landscapes of Kashmir will be on view at 537 West 24th Street from April 5 – May 18, 2019, with an opening reception on Thursday, April 4 from 6 – 8 PM. A full-color catalogue featuring a conversation between the artist and Pace Gallery Founder Arne Glimcher will accompany the exhibition.
This exhibition is the culmination of two decades of the artist’s continual refinement and experimentation with Hammerite enamel paint – a dedication that has allowed Shaw to push the material beyond its traditional capabilities. Shaw has approached this material and his practice with a mentality resonant with the Japanese mindset of Monozukuri. For the latest paintings, Shaw initially swirled the paint around with matchstick splinters and pieces of wood, then porcupine quills, and finally fine needles attached to quills for the most detailed areas of the compositions. The result is a paint surface that appears both fragile and highly textured, encompassing an extravagant color palette.
While grounded in the artist’s personal history in Kashmir, the new works also demonstrate Shaw’s careful study and appreciation of the tradition of Western landscape painting, including the work of masters Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Annibale Carraci, John Constable, Caspar David Friedrich, and Thomas Gainsborough. East meets West in Shaw’s final works fusing them with pictorial traditions of Persian and Mughal miniature paintings.
Autobiographical in nature, this exhibition presents Shaw’s experiences, observations, and memories of his life to the present date, with a particular focus on his early years spent in Kashmir before political unrest forced his family to relocate. Shaw referred to the series as: “A cathartic exercise to try to suture the wounds of separation from Kashmir.”
Although an artist of note, his work should be considered philosophically closer to that of Dubuffet and “outsider artists” than being integral to the concerns of contemporary figuration.
Interview between Arne Glimcher and Raqib Shaw
2019. Pace Gallery. Folio
Folio: 9 individual sheets, plus cover sheet; staplebound interview: 9 color illustrations; 17 x 10 ¾ inches