The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, June 18, 2018

Raqib Shaw: Absence of God Opens at Kunsthalle Wien
Raqib Shaw, Absence of God VI (Detail), 2009, © the artist, Photo: Todd-White Art Photography, Courtesy White Cube.

VIENNA.- Raqib Shaw’s work offers a view of paradise and hell both at the same time – an exuberant creation of worlds marked by an absence of religious systems. “God is dead” might be the Occidental equivalent, in the shape of a Nietzschean philosophy, to Shaw’s morality of a liberated art based on the absence of God.

Born in Calcutta in 1974 and brought up in Muslimdominated Kashmir, Raqib Shaw was educated by Hindu teachers at a Christian school before taking up his studies at the Central St. Martin’s School of Art in London, in 1998. The son of a trader family has allowed himself to be inspired in equal parts by Asiatic and Arabic décor, such as kimono textiles, antique rugs, Persian jewellery and Japanese woodcuts, and equally so by objects at the London Natural History Museum.

His phantasmagorias and picture puzzles, whose surfaces abound with a finely chased filigree, enamel, glitter, and gold, boldly demanding the viewer’s attention, are populated with hybrid human and animal entities and fabulous creatures, such as, for instance, the Blind Butterfly Catcher. Violence and perversion, excess and eccentricity take turns in occupying centre stage in the ornamental and finally detailed works of this artist. Only someone capable of creating art with such an extrariparian sense of beauty can dare to claim, as Shaw does, that, “I do not know what beauty means in contemporary art.”

Raqib Shaw’s “art of exquisite anxiety”, his visual overexcitation, pits the flat expanse of plane surfaces against the depth of threedimensional space, figuration vs. abstraction, the compositional overview vs. getting lost in the love for detail. Arabesque pattern formations dissolve as they approach the boundaries of the aesthetically familiar.

The orgiastic works of Raqib Shaw shake of the world as we know it, creating a New Arcadia, which likes to calm its nervous tensions by referring back to the decadence of the fin de siècle era, and historical precedents, including the works of a Hans Holbein the Younger, the uncanny architectural fictions of a Giovanni Battista Piranesi or Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.

The show at the project space of Kunsthalle wien presents new works from the Absence of God series, in juxtaposition with the hyperrealistic sculpture, Adam. This is a statue that could be understood as an alter ego of the artist, who, himself, leads quite an eccentric lifestyle – depicting, as it does, a lifesized human body with a bird’s head. Caught in the claws of a lobster it represents the enforced mating of the birdman (a melding of earth and air) with the crayfish (i.e., water.) With its jaw cleft widely ajar and overrunning with worms and maggots it is reminiscent of Francis Bacon’s Scream, which keeps turning up in leitmotif fashion throughout Shaw’s oeuvre. It symbolises the flaw of human existence, which, according to traditional psychoanalysis, cannot ever be rectified.

Kunsthalle Wien | Raqib Shaw | Vienna | Muslim | Giovanni Battista Piranesi | Hieronymus Bosch |

Today's News

August 19, 2009

Sotheby's Returns to Derbyshire this Autumn for a Fourth Installation of Sculptures

Exceptional Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art to Be Offered at Christie's New York in September

The Hammer Museum Announces Presentation of The Bible Illuminated: R. Crumb's Book of Genesis

Raqib Shaw: Absence of God Opens at Kunsthalle Wien

The Edinburgh Art Festival Unveils 2009 Art Late Program

Smithsonian Debuts New Orientation Film Starring Ben Stiller in the Castle

As Banksy Crashes the Bristol Museum . . ..A New Book Champions the Urban Canvas

Final Week to Submit Virtual Shelter Designs for Guggenheim and Google Competition

Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art to Show Italian Art Between Tradition and Revolution

Thirty-Seven Artists to Participate at "Whitney's Biennial" in Brooklyn

Part II of "Women on Stamps" Online Exhibit Features Courageous Women

Film Series at MoMA Celebrates the Daring and Imaginative Work of Filmmaker Spike Jones

'Archetype': Two Solo Exhibitions by Ashish Avikunthak and Sakti Burman at Aicon Gallery

Moving Frontiers: Early Transportation in the Mohawk Valley Opens at the Arkell Museum

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Welcomes New and Former Board of Trustee Members

Saint Louis Art Museum Seminar Focuses on Ancient Rome's Influence

White House Solar Panel Acquired by Smithsonian

Colby College Renovations Receive LEED Gold Certification

American Arts Discovery Fall Session Begins at Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Related Stories

Andro Wekua's Latest Film "Never Sleep with a Strawberry in Your Mouth" at Kunsthalle Wien

Kunsthalle Wien Presents Power Up: Rediscovering Outstanding Women Pop Artists

Kunsthalle Wien Examines the Portrait from Mapplethorpe to Goldin

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful