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Rossi & Rossi will present new works by Pakistani-born, British artist Rasheed Araeen at Art Basel Hong Kong 2016 (ABHK).
Recognised as the father of minimalist sculpture in Britain, where he has been based since 1964, Araeen has distinguished himself as a pioneering writer and editor of a dissenting and revisionist discourse on art history, champion of Afro-Asian artists vis-à-vis Eurocentrism, visionary and passionate ideologue, and groundbreaking performance artist.
Four large-scale, post-minimalist sculptures completed in 2015 will be on display, including Bahar Ayie Khushyaan Lyie (Spring Come, Happiness Come). The works, which take the form of the artist’s wooden wall structures of the late 1960s and early ’70s, introduce the idea of breaking symmetry, whereas a rigid structure moves through a process of transformation. Araeen’s use of lattice not only relates to his engineering and architectural background, but also makes reference to early twentieth-century modernist art—in particular, Russian Constructivism and Dutch De Stijl—and the utopian ideologies that accompanied those movements.
Rainbow (2015) is comprised of seven cubes in primary colours that invoke Araeen’s themes of social equality, and mobility amongst people. The work is conceptually similar to the interactive installation Zero to Infinity (conceived in 1968, first realized in 2004, acquired by the Tate in 2007), made up of 100 blue lattice cubes which are migrated by the audience from a minimalist square to an undefined spacial configuration. Zero to Infinity challenged the British Modernist approach to sculpture—that it is a fixed object created by a single person. Rainbow is similarly modular, and the audience at ABHK will be invited to dismantle and rearrange its elements into new formations.
To coincide with Araeen’s solo presentation at ABHK, Rossi & Rossi will release GOING EAST, a publication on Araeen’s work with a foreword by renowned British-born curator David Elliott.
Rasheed Araeen (b. 1935) is a London-based artist, activist, writer, editor and curator. In 1964, he moved to the United Kingdom from Pakistan, where he had initially trained as a civil engineer. Araeen is recognised as the father of minimalist sculpture in 1960s Britain. His work in performance, photography, painting and sculpture from the 1970s to the ’90s challenged Eurocentricsm within the British art establishment and championed the role of minority artists, especially those of Asian, African and Caribbean decent. In addition to his artistic practice, he took on activist roles with organisations such as the Black Panthers and Artists for Democracy, and founded the critical journals Black Phoenix, Third Text and Third Text Asia. Araeen organised the seminal 1989 exhibition, The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain, which was held at Southbank Centre, London. Author of numerous essays and journals, he has written Art Beyond Art: Ecoaesthetics—A Manifesto for the 21st Century (Third Text Publications, London, 2010) and the autobiographical Making Myself Visible (Kala Press, London, 1984).
Araeen has exhibited internationally, with significant solo exhibitions, including Rasheed Araeen: Before and After Minimalism, Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces, Sharjah, UAE (2014); Zero to Infinity, Museo de Arte, Lima, Peru (2013); Minimalism and Beyond: Rasheed Araeen at Tate Britain, Tate Britain, London, UK (2007); To Whom It May Concern, Serpentine Galleries, London, UK (1996); Rasheed Araeen, South London Gallery, London, UK (1994); Strife and/or Structure, Modern Art Gallery, Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan (1993); and From Modernism to Postmodernism: Rasheed Araeen: a Retrospective: 1959–1987, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (1987).
His work has also been shown in notable group exhibitions, including The Tanks: Art in Action, Tate Modern, London, UK (2012–13); Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China (2012); Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea (2012); Migrations at Tate Britain, London, UK (2012); The Mediterranean Project, Thessaloniki Biennale, Thessaloniki, Greece (2011); Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba (1994); Live in Your Head, Museu do Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal (2001); every day Sydney Biennale, Sydney, Australia (1998); 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, Johannesburg, South Africa (1997); The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (1990, travelling exhibition); Magiciens de la terre, Centre Georges Pompidou/La Villette, Paris, France (1989); and Art of Society at Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, UK (1978).
The artist’s work is included in prominent public collections, including the Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi, UAE; Tate Modern, London, UK; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK; Arts Council of England; CANAL+, Paris, France; Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan; Wifredo Lam Center, Havana, Cuba; Imperial War Museum, London, UK; Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE; Pompidou Centre, Paris, France; Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (NY), USA; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India; Gwangju Biennale Foundation, Gwangju, South Korea; and Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Araeen is the recipient of honorary doctorates from Southampton University, East London University and Wolverhampton University.