PRESENTED BY BAHRAIN NATIONAL GAS AT SAATCHI GALLERY
CURATED AND PRODUCED BY EVA MCGAW AND TATIANA PALINKASEV
Penumbra: Textured Shadow, Coloured Light, held at Saatchi Gallery from 3-21 October 2018, brings together new three-dimensional works by artist Rashid Khalifa. His London debut invites the viewer to experience the beauty of textured shadows and light cast through polychromatic metal structures.
Aluminium mesh wall works, suspended steel grid columns housing videos of street scenes, and a monumental maze form the basis of this immersive exhibition inspired by architectural grids and geometric lattices.
In recent years, 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. 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, cut-outs and monitors showing street scenes and coastlines are suspended from the ceiling, drawing the viewer closer. 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 and a colossal grid structure that reimagines the shapes and tones of an urban environment, and explores architecture, city planning and memories. 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.’
Rashid Khalifa (b. 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.
Rashid’s 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, progression towards abstraction and experimenting with the ‘canvas’ in the 90s, and recent mirror-like chrome and high gloss lacquer pieces.
His solo exhibitions include Hybrids, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2018); Convex: A New Perspective, Bahrain National Museum, Kingdom of Bahrain (2010); Art Department, Shuman Arts Organisation, Jordan (1997); De Caliet Gallery, Milan, Italy and El Kato Kayyel Gallery, Milan, Italy (1996).
Biennials include: Bridges, Grenada Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2017); 3rd Mediterranean Biennale: OUT OF PLACE - Sakhnin Valley, Israel (2017); Arab Delegation, TRIO Biennial - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2015); and In The Eye of the Thunderstorm, Collateral Events, 56. la Biennale di Venezia - Venice, Italy (2015).
Rashid has also taken part in various group shows, international art fairs, and exhibitions alongside the Bahrain Arts Society.