Rana Begum: Reflection on Colour and Form

10 Jun-17 Sep 2022


Rana Begum (b. 1977), who blurs the boundaries between sculpture, painting, and architecture, added printmaking to her creative practice when she made her first editions in 2018. As part of her ongoing investigation into the interaction between form, light and colour, this exhibition will showcase Begum’s developments over the past five years and unveil a series of new lenticular editions, small sculptures, and large-scale installations.

Begum’s first foray into printmaking came in the form of two groups of small etchings, (No. 860 and No. 861, 2018), and a series of four larger mesh prints made in 2019. Featuring overlapping fluorescent colours and geometric patterns, these works explore both the ambiance and unpredictability created by neighbouring colours.

Begum’s investigations into colour relationships and visual perceptions are inspired by the urban landscape as well as patterns from traditional Islamic art and architecture. Rana Begum comments, “I love the focus required for printmaking – the need to consider colour and form and how they interact with each other. There is a feeling of deliberation, a slowing down of the production process that makes it more considered, more intentional. However, alongside this there is also an unpredictability, a loss of control, that I find exciting and creatively inspiring.

While printmaking is a relatively new venture for me, I think the principle of methodical process and repetition has always been at the heart of my practice. Having grown up reciting prayers from the Quran, I have always found this feeling of rhythm and repetition meditative.”

Light is essential to her process; for a new series of prints, 88 A – L, (2021) Begum uses light to draw out contrasts. Twelve screenprints have been printed in layers of silver and white, each accented with a primary colour. Light is gently absorbed and reflected across the work, so the viewer experiences a surface akin to reflective materials.

Eight new lenticular editions will be unveiled for the first time, each featuring vibrant geometric colour combinations that change in relation to the viewers’ position as they pass in front of them. Begum’s first experiments in lenticular technology allow her to present colour in continuous flux.

Begum will draw aspects of her editions into the three-dimensional space, in the form of small sculptures and two larger installations. The grids featured in her mesh prints are folded out into the gallery space to create a floor-based installation. For a second installation, the geometry and colour of her screenprints, reminiscent of hazard tape, are reimagined in steel.

These sculptures and installations demonstrate the ongoing dialogue between Begum’s printmaking practice and her explorations in the studio, as printmaking continues to open new possibilities and directions for the artist to explore.