In 2013, visitors entered the gallery doors past a magical series of willow and spring flower installations to discover recent paintings, sculptures and works on paper by Raqib Shaw. Beneath the seductive surface of his jewel-encrusted works, there lies a disturbing land inhabited by terrifying monkey warriors and other mythical beasts.
Shaw created a striking response to Manchester’s famous Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians by George Stubbs for the exhibition. Inspired by the impression the painting made on the artist as a young boy, this provocative work was on display alongside the original from our collection.
Other major works on display included Adam, a painted bronze overlaid with black diamonds, sapphires and rubies. The exhibition also featured a selection of glitter and rhinestone-encrusted acrylic works on paper from Shaw’s recent series Of Beasts and Super-Beasts. First shown in Paris in 2012, these incredibly detailed pieces depict creatures and still lives drawn from the artist’s imagination and highlight Shaw’s passion for drawing.
Raqib Shaw is an Indian-born, London-based artist who shot to fame in the international art world at the age of just 33. His opulent paintings and sculptures evoke the work of Old Masters such as Holbein and Bosch in their treatment of often unsettling subjects. But they also reflect the ornate style of Persian miniatures and Kashmiri and Japanese textiles. Beneath their beautiful jewel-like surface is a collection of dark and violent images inspired by ancient myths and religious tales from both East and Western tradition.
The exhibition was a collaboration between Manchester Art Gallery and Rudolfinum Prague. A full colour publication accompanied the exhibition, with an essay by Professor David Lomas.
As part of Shaw’s gift to the city, an exhibition launch party was held on Valentine’s night, Thursday 14 February from 6-9pm.
Raqib Shaw was born in Calcutta, India in 1974 and grew up in in Kashmir. He moved to England in 1998 to study at the Central St Martins School of Art, from where he graduated in 2002 with an MA in Fine Art. Since graduating his work has been exhibited in galleries around the world. Today Raqib lives and works in London.
Tate Britain, London
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Of Beasts and Super-Beasts, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris
Paradise Lost, White Cube, London
Absence of God, White Cube, London
Absence of God, Karlsplatz Project Space, Kunsthalle Wein, Vienna
Raqib Shaw At The Met, The Metropolitan Museum, New York
Art Now: Raqib Shaw, Tate Britain, London
Raqib Shaw: Garden of Earthly Delights, Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
Raqib Shaw: Garden of Earthly Delights, Deitch Projects, New York
Raqib Shaw: Garden of Earthly Delights, Victoria Miro Gallery, London
6th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea
Without Boundaries, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Around the World in Eighty Days, ICA, London
Raqib Shaw, Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians, 2013