Raqib Shaw: Self Portraits
at White Cube Bermondsey
Until 11th September 2016
I didn’t know when I wandered into Bermondsey’s White Cube gallery on Sunday afternoon that I was about to encounter a new artist to add to my favourites list. Raqib Shaw is a Calcutta-born, Kashmir-raised and London-based contemporary artist who creates the most stunningly beautiful and intricate paintings.
Like a modern-day van Eyck with the twisted and ghoulish sense of humour of a latter-day Hieronymous Bosch, Raqib Shaw’s work is highly detailed with a glassy polished surface I longed to run my fingers over (I didn’t, and not just because the White Cube have good gallery attendants). The jewel colours, glowing like stained glass, are bordered with delicate metallic raised paint like the finest cloisonné-work.
Obviously hugely influenced by the masters of Netherlandish art, Shaw’s subject-matter in this exhibition varies from a nativity scene and an Annunciation to a demonic party of dancing skeletons and a reworking of a Renaissance vanitas painting. Everywhere there are humorous and unexpected details, champagne-drinking bushbabies clinging to a window frame, leopard-headed men and phantasmagorical creatures. And amongst all the mayhem and mystery is the artist himself, appearing with his flat cap and accompanied by his two canine companions, a dachshund and a Jack Russell terrier.
Raqib Shaw’s art is a real find, engaging and masterful but the exhibition at White Cube is closing soon, so don’t miss it.
Raqib Shaw: Self Portraits closes 11th September 2016.
All photographs ©The London Art File
Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 6pm
Sundays 12noon – 6pm
White Cube Bermondsey
144-152 Bermondsey Street
London SE1 3TQ
+44 (0)20 7930 5373