Nick Aikens will curate the upcoming first comprehensive retrospective of Pakistani artist Rasheed Araeen’s works over his 60-year artistic career. Broken down into five chapters, Araeen’s influential perspective is presented at the beginning through his experimental painting in the 1950s and 60s in Karachi, where he shifted from representational imagery to abstraction. Visitors will then be able to explore his pioneering Minimalist sculptural works, which delved into geometry and symmetry as the result of a move to London in 1964, where within a few short years, Araeen turned more towards the environment in relation to his work by opening his work to natural elements and human interaction. This late-60s artistic progression introduced a “symmetry and a-symmetry” that Araeen noted was the governing principle of the world.
Also on show will be seminal works from the ensuing decades, including political art influenced by discrimination he faced within Britain’s art world, as well as new works such as a video piece documenting his 1977 performance Paki Bastard (Portrait of an Artist as a Black Person), and the the installation Holes in the Earth, seen for the first time since 1975. A thorough survey, the exhibition will also touch upon Araeen’s curatorial projects to offer visitors an expanded view of the formal, ideological and political assumptions of Eurocentric Modernism that Araeen has critically investigated.