reviews

Raqib Shaw, After George Stubbs “Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians”, 2013, oil on canvas, 72 x 108 3/8".

Raqib Shaw

Manchester Art Gallery

Raqib Shaw, After George Stubbs “Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians”, 2013, oil on canvas, 72 x 108 3/8".

“So quick bright things come to confusion,” says Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The perplexed lover’s comment came to mind at the recent show of thirty-eight (old and new) paintings, works on paper, and sculptures by Calcutta-born, London-based Raqib Shaw—the artist’s largest exhibition to date. Here, shimmering surfaces often concealed sinister truths. At first, the rhinestone-studded painting Blue Moonbeam Gatherer, 2010, might suggest romance. Enfolded in a velvety indigo night, fir trees caked in sugar-white frost glimmer like diamonds; silvery deer prance under glittery stars. The stage seems set for fairy-tale lovers—until we notice a tiny creature embedded in the wilderness. A blue-bodied man with the head of an animal is shackled to a precipice; groveling on his knees, he extends an ornate chalice to an indifferent moon.

In Shaw’s work, the bizarre is

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 2013 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.