Autumn 2018

Art & Auctions
Penumbra in London

Shaikh Rashid’s debut exhibition in the UK capital invites the viewer to experience the beauty of textured shadows and light cast through polychromatic metal structures

Bahrain-based well-known artist Shaikh Rashid Al Khalifa made his London debut in October with his new three-dimensional works “Penumbra: Textured Shadow, Coloured Light”.

The exhibition of Shaikh Rashid’s latest works received such an overwhelming response that the show has been extended by a month.

The exhibition, at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery, which was supposed to run until October 21 has been extended until November 21 by curators, Eva McGaw and Tatiana Palinkasev, due to “overwhelming popular demand”.

Ms Palinkasev said the extension was a great honour and a testament to the quality of the work of Shaikh Rashid.

The works are displayed in two large exhibition spaces on the second floor of the Duke of York’s Headquarters, where Saatchi Gallery is situated.

In the works, Shaikh Rashid invites the viewer to experience the beauty of textured shadows and light cast through polychromatic metal structures.

Aluminium mesh wall works, suspended steel grid mobiles, and a monumental maze form the basis of this immersive exhibition inspired by architectural grids and geometric lattices.

In recent years, Shaikh Rashid has experimented with metal surfaces, creating openings in his aluminium wall works and revealing the intimate space behind the surface, usually kept out of view. Penumbra takes this approach a step further, exploring changes in spatial experience depending on the viewer’s position.

Upon entering the first exhibition space, the audience encounters convex wall works adorned with colourful flaps that suggest a feeling of movement. Shaikh Rashid refers to the wall-mounted aluminium pieces, whose intricate patterns are based on complex mathematical geometric design, as ‘parametric sculptures’.

In the centre of the room, three-tiered columns wreathed with geometric flaps are suspended from the ceiling. There is tension created between the vibrant and ornate steel grids and the calmness of the voids within, just out of reach of the viewer in a realm of semi-privacy.

In the second exhibition space, the viewer is confronted with a colourful maze, a colossal grid structure that reimagines the shapes and tones of an urban environment, and explores architecture, city planning and memories.

Shaikh Rashid comments: “I was inspired by winding narrow alleyways and traditional architecture. I would like the audience to experience the maze as a conceptual entity – a spiritual journey with no fixed destination.”

Shaikh Rashid, born in 1952, began painting at the age of 16 and had his first exhibition at the Dilmun Hotel, Bahrain, in 1970. He travelled to the UK in 1972 where he attended the Brighton and Hastings Art College in Sussex and trained in Arts and Design.

His artistic practice has evolved over time: from landscapes in the 70s and early 80s, to merging elements of his figurative and abstract work in the late 80s, progressing towards abstraction and experimenting with the ‘canvas’ in the 90s, and recent mirror-like chrome and high gloss lacquer pieces.

Speaking on his artistic inspirations, Shaikh Rashid says: “For me, I used to be inspired by landscapes and seascapes. I was fascinated by people in motion or still; in fact, I keep on sketching. Thence stem some ideas for new artworks. Lately, my œuvres d’art are metamorphosing into a more sleek and contemporary style, which suits me rather well because verily I am designing and using a plethora of colours yet in simple patterns.

“My artworks have evolved drastically over the years, yet I feel that the essence of the earlier works is still there; in terms of colours and subtleness, above all. There’s no canvas as a support in my recent works, however, the overall past feelings can be felt in the more recent ones.”

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