Lights, symmetry and shaping; these are some of the themes in the newest solo show at Parasol Unit foundation for contemporary art. The artworks – that can only be described as poetic geometry – are by Rana Begum, a Bangladeshi-born, London-based contemporary artist.
Graduating from Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2002, and the Slade thereafter, Begum has since been travelling across the world dispersing her graceful works. These comprise an intriguing mix of the Islamic art that she was immersed in from a young age, with a Western influence.
Showing previously at the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition in 2012, this marks her first London solo show, wherein she presents a selection of her pieces that come together in a magnitude of materials and patterns.
Titled ‘The Space Between’, the show's rhythm runs in synergy right from the titles of the pieces – each is kept clean and simple with just a number. Hidden silhouettes, optical illusions and angles continue across the works; like the painted lines in No. 480 and No. 531 that both explore triangles through overlapping subtle gradients.
Elsewhere the sculptural pieces create a more abstract geometrical flow. Begum folds materials to create minimal and architectural contours, in stainless steel in No. 591 and birch ply in No. 563 (both protrude from the wall). Yet there is a another overarching dimension that is unspoken: 'Light is a vitally activating element in Begum’s works,’ the gallery explains, ‘its shifts and changes producing an experience that is both temporal and sensorial.’
These optic twists and turns continue throughout, even across the mixed use of steel, concrete and mesh. Created specifically for the show, No. 670 is a labyrinth of mesh that forms messy routes and directions, inviting the audience to delve inside Begum’s geometrical mind – pleasingly symmetrical, but often vividly perplexing.