76 Grand Street
Deitch Projects presented the first New York solo show by London based Kashmiri artist Raqib Shaw. Taking its title from the eponymous Hieronymous Bosch painting, Garden of Earthly Delights featured five new paintings and twenty drawings describing the erotic underwater realm of Raqib’s imagination.
Oriental, psychedelic, surreal, pornographic, and decorative, these works featured efflorescent genetalia put to work by all manner of hybrid creature. In his outrageous private phantasmagoria, we found surfaces nippled and crevassed, space enigmatic in a suffused underwater thicket, and time clenched in perpetual orgasm.
Raqib incorporated a veritable Natural History Museum catalogue of flora and fauna: fan coral, seaweed forests, anemones, limpets, sea turtles, anglerfish, coelacanths, writhing eels, skittering crustaceans, and turgid sea cucumbers lurk about. Echinodermata, nematoda, and chondricthyes: phylum with names as resplendent as the animal’s colorful execution.
But cohabiting below the surface we also playfully found terrestrial organisms: frilled lizards in threat display, phallus-headed underwater birds, dragonflies, bug-eyed tarsiers, and animal-headed man-beasts. These hybrids writhed and squirmed in sportif sexual groupings across the effulgent surface.
The method was likewise aqueous: fences of Swiss-stained glass paint corralled puddles of pooling enamel that the artist swizzled around with porcupine quills. While taming notoriously difficult types of paint, industrial metallic and oil-based enamels, Raqib also encrusted his surfaces with glitter and jewels. And though he took inspiration from decorative objects of the east-- including lacquered Japanese screens, kimono textiles, antique carpets, Persian jewelry, etc-- his dialogue with the history of painting took his work well beyond "decorative."
Strongly influenced by literature of the west, Raqib’s characters, as in the best Romantic novel, took on a life of their own in Byronesque narratives of pleasure and pain. The artist described the enjoyment he felt getting lost in the paintings, which he derived from books submerged completely in the realm of the fantastic.
As Raqib wrote: “In looking at my work I want people to believe in the possibility of transcendence, that base metal might be turned into gold, or, as Proust eloquently wrote, to reveal ‘the pearl that may give the lie to our carapace of paste and pewter.’”
After gaining his MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2002, Raqib’s standout solo show at Victoria Miro generated a great deal of excitement. This was his first solo New York exhibition.
March 8 - 11, 2018
We will present a special solo project by the artist JR.
Image: JR, Migrants, Walking New York City, 2015
April - May 2018
18 Wooster Street
76 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday – Friday
10 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday – Saturday
Noon – 6 PM
The gallery reopens with People in April 2018.
+1 (212) 343-7300
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