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Framed
November 19, 2015

If You Think Geometry Isn’t Cool, Think Again

Text by Huzan Tata. Images courtesy the artist and Jhaveri Contemporary. Artist's image courtesy Ian Bartlett.

Rana Begum mixes geometric patterns and minimalism in her artworks

Click on any image to view in gallery

From Mughals to modernism, Islamic art and architecture has influenced artists for eons. And among these creators is Bangladeshi artist Rana Begum, who visualises Islamic art using lessons of minimalism and geometry.

For her latest solo show, Towards an Infinite Geometry, Begum has created patterns using the triangle as the primary figure, and steel and painted aluminium as her materials. The resultant works, as the press note says, ‘disentangle our experience of colour from that of form. Colour is experienced as diffusion, no longer a material fact but a phenomena somewhat closer to light, vulnerable to shifts and changes in both the viewing body and its surrounding environment’. And geometry doesn’t get more creative.

5 Questions with the artist, Rana Begum

  1. Artistic Motivations “Living in London, my urban environment serves as a great visual stimulus. I see light, structure and colour everywhere and often it is in the most quotidian objects that I find inspiration and motivation for my next piece of work.”
  2. Inspirations “One of my earliest memories is that of visiting the mosque as a child in Bangladesh. I was struck by the way the morning light, the sound of the water fountain and the repetition of recitation all came together into a strong feeling of calm and exhilaration. This combination is very inspiring and something I endeavour to capture in my work.”
  3. On the wall at home “One of my favourite artists is Agnes Martin. There is personal expression in the sense of serenity her work instills upon the viewer. I recently saw Ugo Rondinone’s “clouds + mountains + waterfalls”…I would love to have one of those sculptures. Two other artists I admire are Tess Jaray and Flore Nové-Josserand.”
  4. Concerns that find a place in your art “I am often concerned by the lack of time one has for calm reflection. In my work I use systematic and repetitive principles. I find this distilled way of working best expresses and captures this sense of calm which I crave.”
  5. If not an artist, you would be… “My son thinks I should be a scientist or inventor – apparently when you’re seven years old, being an artist doesn’t sound quite exciting enough!”

Towards an Infinite Geometry is on display at Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai (2 Krishna Niwas, 58A Walkeshwar Road) until November 28, 2015.

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