Born in Bangladesh in 1977 and brought up in England where she moved with her family in 1985, Rana Begum is one of the leading figures of her generation in the contemporary art world. Combining a deep understanding of the different technical qualities of each material she explores, such as paper, aluminum or wood, with a unique poetic vision, Begum has created an impressive corpus of artworks in which she explores the mediums of painting, sculpture and installation.
In a series of sculptural paintings she began in the mid-2000s, the delicacy of paper folding is imposed onto geometrical forms constructed with extruded aluminum. In No 426, an appealing three-dimensional object reveals the artist’s mastery of a technique perfected over several years. The different surfaces engage each other with interplays of bold hues and random reflections or absorption of light and shadow, creating a dynamic artefact which activates the space it occupies, entrancing viewers.
This elegant work, which seems to almost organically emerge from the wall, invites viewers to participate in different visual experiences from various perspectives and changing with environmental modifications. This accidental factor is a key element for the artist, who is profoundly inspired and fascinated by the chaos of the buzzing city of London where she lives and works. Begum investigates and formalises this urban journey through a visual language inspired by minimalism which traces its roots to the work of Agnes Martin and Sol Le Witt, and more subtly by the geometry of Islamic architecture and décor inspired by her education, homeland of Bangladesh, and travels across Europe and Spain in particular.
Begum’s work has been internationally exhibited to great acclaim, with recent solo exhibitions at Tate St Ives, Cornwall (2018); Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich (2017) touring to Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham (2018); Parasol Unit, London (2016); and Delfina Foundation, London (2010). In 2017, Begum curated the Arts Council Collection in an exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and was awarded the Abraaj Prize. Her work has been acquired by international institutions and foundations including the Art Museum of Western Virginia, the London Institute, and MoNA (Museum of Old and New Art), Tasmania.