Rana Begum No.179, 2009, Spray paint on powder coated aluminium, 25 x 25 cm.
Rana Begum, No.188, 2009, Spray paint on powder coated aluminium, 142 x 142 cm.
Rana Begum, No.190, 2009, Spray paint on powder coated aluminium, 142 x 142 cm.
Rana Begum, No.186, 2009, Spray paint on powder coated aluminium, 142 x 142 cm.
The Third Line
Al Quoz 3
+9714 341 1367
The Moment of Alignment
New works by Rana Begum
September 10-October 1, 2009
Six new large-scale, coloured aluminium works form the exhibition supported by a selection of works on paper and smaller three-dimensional pieces.
Moving beyond the colour codes of her first solo exhibition at The Third Line, Rana Begum has evolved from a multiple layering of colour to hard edged repetition and symmetry. Maintaining a perpendicular format and intuitive application of colours, Begum’s new work demands an active participation between the audience and the pieces themselves. These works have progressed into a geometric range of forms, crossing three dimensions, requiring the viewer to move around the pieces in order to experience multiple layers of symmetry. By re-defining a variety of parallelograms and divisions into repeated geometric patterned tiles, she initiates a conversation between color and shape across smaller works constructed from paper, and three-dimensional wall mounted sculptures.
This new work is striving towards a nuanced experience, and whether springing from the spiritual or mundane, it embodies the elements that still interest Begum: form, colour and light. Her work sets out to transform the overpowering associations of urban debasement into a more poetic understanding. While patterns and forms found in Islamic Art help to shape the compositions of the work, the focus is how these patterns and forms reoccur accidentally, randomly and chaotically in the surrounding environment: road signs, advertising, hazard signs.
Begum's choice of colours is intuitive — the selection is made by seeing the reaction of one colour against another. The resulting effect blurs the precise lines and edges of each shape, which placed side by side create balance and harmony. This can be clearly seen in the smaller works constructed from paper. These works are in effect paper studies that have been an aid towards creating the larger works.
Where Begum’s previous works maintained a constant use of horizontal or vertical lines that were direct and representative, her new series demands the viewer engage with the work in order to complete the experience. Six large works form the main aspect of the exhibition in the form of three-dimensional structural installations. These pieces comprise of 15 bars made out of box section extruded aluminium, powder-coated in black, and hang vertically on the wall. On top of them, a second or third colour is sprayed, creating an overlaying pattern, applying a new logic to existing form. This double visual is visible only through physical movement, forcing the viewer to shift from one side of the work to another in order to experience a complexity that is unapparent at first glance.
The dominant use of black as the base colour in all six works is a challenging and conscious one. After the birth of her first child in 2008, Begum began making studies on colour using paper. It is from these studies that she became fascinated by how black is transformed when used as a background for other colours. Not only does the black absorb the light from the other colors, but it also provides depth to them, acting as a division of the space and creating patterns that flow with each work. Their vibrancy hints at Begum’s desire to create an abstraction with logic and rigour. Each composition of colour and light creates a new and unexpected reaction.
When in front of the work only the black surfaces are seen. Traces of the second or third colour are implied by the way the colour bounces off the white wall behind them, to varying degrees depending on the visual spectrum. Moving, even slightly, in any direction results in a different interaction between the elements. It is this glow that brings these extrusions together and unifies the work, thus creating an ethereal experience. Each component of the work communicates with the next sequentially. With the succession from one work to another, the duplicating progression of fleeting experiences builds a dialogue that is constant throughout the exhibition.
Begum received her Fine Art Degree in painting at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and her MFA in painting from the Slade School of Fine Art, both of London.
Lodged between op-art and minimalism, Begum's paintings draw an unlikely inspiration from repetitive geometric patterns within Islamic art and architecture. The result is a series of tightly controlled compositions, where impeccably applied colorful hard-edge lines are coated in a thick layer of glossy resin, to create seductively tactile reflective surfaces. Begum's paintings are an exercise in rhythm and symmetry and much like music, have a spiritual quality to them that embraces the heart and gratifies the eye.
In her recent work, Begum has more fully delved into installation, and has further minimized her palette to sometimes dual or even single color panels. With this uber reductive approach, Begum creates compelling visual language with the tiniest of movements.