'Raqib Shaw: Palazzo della Memoria' at the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna, Ca’ Pesaro
22 April - 25 September 2022
‘[Raqib’s] paintings allow the viewer to travel between the wondrous natural beauties of Kashmir to the arguably more prosaic worlds of South London. There, however, the artist has constructed his own memory paradise that has views onto distant city palaces or cathedral-like towers. Executed with a meticulously detailed and uniquely calibrated sense of both drawing and colour, calculated to astonish […] each painting demands time to discover evermore on further looking.’
– Sir Norman Rosenthal, Curator
An exhibition of new work by artist Raqib Shaw opens at Ca’ Pesaro, Museum of Modern Art in Venice on the Grand Canal, coinciding with the 59th Venice Biennale this year. ‘Raqib Shaw: Palazzo della Memoria’ is curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal, in collaboration with White Cube, and presents a body of new works completed recently at the artist’s London studio, the majority of which have never been exhibited before.
Inspired often in his art by Western European old master traditions, in works conceived specifically for this exhibition at Ca’ Pesaro, Shaw draws particular influence from the unique painting traditions found in Venice and Rome. These works take direct references from Giorgione’s famous La Tempesta (c. 1508) and paintings by Tintoretto that still reside in Venice today. Giovanni Paulo Pannini’s Picture Gallery with Views of Modern Rome (1757) is the inspiration for Shaw’s imaginary self-staged retrospective. This large-scale work will form a centrepiece to the show, depicting more than 60 miniaturised versions of Shaw’s past paintings and sculptures in one image.
Raqib Shaw’s transgressive vision is explored through highly personal imagery that is both opulent and fantastical. Combining iconography from both East and West, he draws on a wide range of sources including art history, mythology, poetry, theatre, religion, science and natural history, but transforms the subject matter in his paintings by bringing in highly personal elements.
In La Tempesta (After Giorgione) (2019-2021), for example, the artist imagines himself in the place of the woman and child famously depicted within Giorgione’s stormy Venetian landscape. The painting, like others he has made in recent years, is presented as an incredibly detailed biographical journey through ordeals of fire and across time and geographical space; from Giorgione’s Venice, to modern London, to idealised, but also war-torn visions of Shaw’s homeland in Kashmir.
‘Raqib Shaw: Palazzo della Memoria’ is an exhibition of paintings that depict a world full of intricate detail, rich colour, and bejewelled surfaces. They exemplify Shaw’s unique method of creating his works using enamel and industrial, metallic paints manipulated with a porcupine quill to fashion sharp detail and rich surface textures, including coral, feathers and flowers. Every motif is outlined in embossed gold, a technique similar to cloisonné used in early Asian pottery, a source of inspiration to the artist along with Uchikake (Japanese wedding kimonos), Byobu (Japanese folding screens), the prints of Hokusai, Kashmiri shawls, medieval heraldry and Persian miniatures, carpets and jewellery.
The exhibition is organised by Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Ca’ Pesaro – Galleria internazionale d’arte moderna in collaboration with White Cube.
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