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Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...

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Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger Ocula Conversation Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger

In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...

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Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City Ocula Report Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City 15 Nov 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Under the direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Rana Begum

b. 1977, Bangladesh

Rana Begum Biography

Rana Begum is an Anglo-Bangladeshi contemporary artist who experiments with the boundaries between painting, design, and architecture. She is influenced by both Minimalism and her childhood experiences of Islam and Islamic art and architecture. Born in Sylhet, eastern Bangladesh, the artist moved to England when she was only eight years old. She now lives and works in London and describes it as a city that is 'constantly morphing and changing'. She combines her early childhood's sense of steady repetition and calm contemplation with urban structures and industrial materials to create a conversation between form, colour, and light. The artist finds inspiration in her childhood memories of light hitting the water in Bangladesh's rice fields, as well as the ritual of praying five times a day.

Initially Begum's works were representational, but as she became exposed to artists such as Ellsworth Kelly and Sol LeWitt, she carried her interest in line, colour, and light towards an abstracted exploration of repetition and materiality. During her Masters degree, the artist gained inspiration from Latin American artists including Jesús Rafael de Soto and Hélio Oiticica, and Constructivist artists such as Charles Biederman. She introduced colour and light slowly into her works, determined to approach these complex phenomenona with care. The quietly intense process of concentration with which she treats each level of her artistic process allows the work to act not as spectacle, but instead quietly grab the viewer's attention until he or she is immersed in the work's own elucidation of time.

Begum's highly geometric sculptures are both static and in constant flux. That is, though the physical artworks themselves stand still, as the light changes within the space throughout the day and as the viewer moves around the artwork, bright colours may turn to more subdued tones and short and sharp shadows may enlarge and fade. In an interview with Stephanie Bailey for Ocula Magazine, the artist stated: 'In life we are in constant motion, seeing things change and shift around us. I felt the need to reflect these transitions and changes within my work.' In this way, the moving viewer activates the work and may experience a new moment at each angle.

Though London provides a great deal of inspiration to Begum, equally influential are the many residencies the artist has undertaken in cities like Bangkok and Beirut. During these residencies, the artist develops her art in reaction to the new environments in which she finds herself, absorbing each unique context and incorporating it into her style and process. In a 2009 residency in Beirut, she took inspiration from the city's skyline to make sculptural drawings with straws from a Lebanese corner shop. She has since extended this exploration, replacing straws with steel and pairing the steel with reflective sheets placed on the wall or the floor.

In 2016, Begum won the Abraaj Group Art Prize, for which she was awarded $100 000 to realise a project for Art Dubai 2017. The exhibition that accompanied this prize, curated by Omer Berrada, brought together works by three other shortlisted artists and Begum's commissioned work. In the commissioned work, the artist developed her conversation between light and colour by extending a series of painted MDF studies into a three-dimensional transparent glass installation. A monograph written and produced by Berrada was also published.

Begum's work acts architecturally in reaction to both the exhibition space and its broader environmental location. She reflects on moments where she is able to find 'unexpected silence amidst the clamour' of the urban environment, taking readily available industrial materials and presenting them in patterns and forms that reflect the feeling of infinity found through meditation. In this way, the artist blends past memories and present context to dissect questions of materiality and form.

Biography by Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

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Drawing 3 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumDrawing 3, 2014 Coloured pen on paper
10 x 15 cm
The Third Line
No 696 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumNo 696, 2016 Paint on powder coated aluminium
205 x 195 x 5 cm
The Third Line
No 714 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumNo 714, 2017 Acrylic paint on MDF
200 x 258 x 4 cm
The Third Line
No 746 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumNo 746, 2017 Paint on stainless steel
153 x 103 x 46 cm
The Third Line
No 814 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumNo 814, 2018 Coloured laminated glass panels
205 x 200 x 200 cm
The Third Line
No 531 by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumNo 531, 2014 Paint on powder coated aluminium
200 x 295 x 5 cm
The Third Line
No 865 L Reflector by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumNo 865 L Reflector, 2019 Reflectors on aluminium
178.5 x 180.5 x 4 cm
The Third Line
No. 941 Folded Grid by Rana Begum contemporary artwork
Rana BegumNo. 941 Folded Grid, 2019 Spray paint on foil
30 x 25 cm
Jhaveri Contemporary

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Rana Begum, Solo Exhibition at Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai
Closed
19 September–2 November 2019 Rana Begum Solo Exhibition Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Interaction of Colour at Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Closed
7 September–26 October 2019 Group Exhibition Interaction of Colour Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, I Will See It, When I Believe It at The Third Line, Dubai
Closed
15 May–25 July 2019 Group Exhibition I Will See It, When I Believe It The Third Line, Dubai

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Rana Begum Ocula Conversation Rana Begum Artist, United Kingdom and Bangladesh

Rana Begum, winner of the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2017, is an Anglo-Bangladeshi artist whose conversation with the historical legacy of minimalism is textured by childhood memories of reading the Quran inside a mosque in Bangladesh. Her union of styles and influences, which combine references ranging from Donald Judd and Agnes Martin to Islamic art...

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In Related Press

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Rana Begum is exhibiting memories of Bangladesh at Frieze art fair Related Press Rana Begum is exhibiting memories of Bangladesh at Frieze art fair Evening Standard : 27 September 2018

At Frieze art fair next week, among thousands of artworks, it will be difficult for any one artist to stand out. But the sensual beauty and formal rigour of the works of Rana Begum, the British-Bangladeshi artist, should be a balm for the eyes and the soul amid the visual cacophony. Begum is showing in the Frieze Sculpture exhibition in Regent's...

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Frieze Sculpture 2018: the highlights Related Press Frieze Sculpture 2018: the highlights Wallpaper* : 4 July 2018

Between Wimbledon and the FIFA World Cup, there's been plenty of distractions from London's unusually Mediterranean weather of late.

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5 Questions with Rana Begum Related Press 5 Questions with Rana Begum National Museum of Women in the Arts : 2 July 2018

The fifth installment of NMWA's Women to Watch exhibition series, Heavy Metal, is presented by the museum and participating national and international outreach committees. The exhibition showcases contemporary artists working in metal, including those who create sculpture, jewelry, and conceptual forms.

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Fields of Light and Colour Related Press Fields of Light and Colour The Art Newspaper : 21 March 2017

The London-based Bangladeshi artist, an alum of Chelsea College of Art & Design and the Slade School of Fine Art, was awarded the coveted prize last October, receiving a bursary of $100,000 to realise a site-specific project at Art Dubai, working with curator Omar Berrada. And the prize-winning work, which was unveiled near the Abraaj lounge on...

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