Pitzhanger’s new solo exhibition by Rana Begum RA explores the perception of light, colour and form within sculpture, painting and installation. Visitors immediately encounter a newly-created, ethereal cloud installation of diffused light and veils of colour dramatically suspended within the Gallery. Dappled Light blurs the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, design and painting. It is Begum’s first solo show in a public gallery in London in six years.
I’m excited to see how these works change and develop in relation to the new spaces they inhabit. At Pitzhanger, the works will be shown in the house and the gallery – spaces that will force the work to adapt and change their forms. Both the new and existing works respond directly to the way Soane designed the house, bringing light into the architecture.Rana Begum
Dappled Light sets up a dynamic dialogue with the architecture of Sir John Soane at Pitzhanger. The works respond to the Manor’s architecture, sightlines, and intricate interior decorative schemes, including his play of light through tinted glass. Panes of coloured glass rise from the ground in Pitzhanger’s front garden, their vibrant shadows shifting the sun. Several works are displayed beyond the Gallery around the Manor including a bright neon installation of fluid form that zig-zags across the Georgian stairwell. Begum’s architectural cityscape of reflector towers interplays with Soane’s own use of columns of brightly coloured stained glass in the Conservatory.
On display is a monumental canvas of colourful dots that appear random with no underlying structural pattern. This faces a tile grid of vividly coloured undulating surfaces that shimmer in the shifting natural light that floods into the Gallery. Throughout the exhibition, paintings, sculpture and installation are juxtaposed playing with how light touches the material: filtering, glancing, reflecting and blending.
A new piece, Begum’s first video work, captures the fugitive and dappled light as it cascades through a tree canopy in a woodland cemetery outside the artist’s city home. The time-lapse video cycles through the seasons during a year of lockdown. This piece is displayed in Pitzhanger’s atmospheric Monk’s Dining Room designed by Soane, evoking the Gothic environs of the cemetery.
Rana Begum has collaborated with a group of local young artists from Bollo Brook Studios, the creative arm of Bollo Brook Youth Centre (who curated a previous exhibition at Pitzhanger) to create a monochromatic wall drawing, composed with thumbprints, that welcome the visitor as they arrive in the Gallery.
We are thrilled to be showing Rana Begum’s striking works which will create an exciting sensorial experience for our visitors. Begum’s exploration of shifting light, colour and form will connect magnificently to the use of light as an architectural tool by Pitzhanger’s architect Sir John Soane.Clare Gough, Director of Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery
RANA BEGUM Dappled Light 25th March – 11th September 2022 Pitzhanger
In April Rana Begum will also unveil a new site-specific outdoor public sculpture Catching Colour for London City Island developed in response to the architecture and landscape of London City Island. The work will explore colour, light and movement and will bring together art, film, ballet and fashion, including a collaboration between Rana Begum, London Film School, English National Ballet and fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic. Catching Colour was curated by The Line.
For the launch and reveal of Catching Colour on 9th April, English National Ballet has collaborated with Rana Begum and fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic to produce a new five-minute dance piece, responding to the colours, forms and shapes of Begum’s work. A film of the performance will be created by a graduate from London Film School. Choreographed by English National Ballet’s critically acclaimed choreographer, Stina Quagebeur, the piece will be performed live in Botanic Square, London City Island. The two dancers will be dressed by Begum’s long–time collaborator, designer Roksanda Ilincic.
Rana Begum – The Line
About the artist
Rana Begum was born in 1977 in Bangladesh. She lives and works in London. Begum’s work focuses on the interplay between light and colour, blurring the boundaries between sculpture, painting and architecture. Her use of repetitive geometric patterns – found both within Islamic art and the industrial cityscape – takes its inspiration from childhood memories of the rhythmic repetition of daily recitals of the Qur’an. Influenced by the geometric abstraction of minimalism and constructivism and the work of artists such as Agnes Martin, Donald Judd, Jesús Rafael de Soto and Tess Jaray, Begum’s work ranges from drawings, paintings and wall-based sculptures to large-scale public art projects.
Recent solo exhibitions include Infinite Geometry, Wanås Konst, Sweden, (2021); A Conversation with Light and Form, Tate St Ives, Cornwall, UK (2018) following the Tate St Ives Artists Programme residency at Porthmeor Studios; Space, Light, Colour, Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham, UK (2018); Space, Light, Colour, Sainsbury Centre, Norwich, UK (2017); The Space Between, Parasol Unit, London, UK (2016). In 2017, Begum curated a group exhibition, Occasional Geometries, at Yorkshire Sculpture Park featuring works from the Arts Council Collection. Begum is working on a forthcoming site-responsive commission for the new Arts of Islamic Cultures Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), opening 2021. A new publication, Rana Begum: Space Light Colour was published by Lund Humphries in 2021. She was also elected a Royal Academican in 2020.