Pitzhanger’s new exhibition by Rana Begum RA explores the perception of light, colour and form within sculpture, painting and installation. Visitors will immediately encounter a newly-created, ethereal cloud installation of diffused light and veils of colour dramatically suspended within the Gallery. Dappled Light blurs the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, design and painting. It is the first solo show in a London public gallery by Academician Rana Begum: Co-Curator of the architecture room at this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
Dappled Light sets up a dynamic dialogue with the architecture of Sir John Soane at Pitzhanger. The works respond to the Manor’s architecture, sightlines, and intricate interior decorative schemes, including his play of light through tinted glass. Several works will be displayed beyond the Gallery around the Manor including a bright neon installation of fluid form that zig-zags across the Georgian stairwell. Begum’s architectural cityscape of reflector towers interplays with Soane’s own use of columns of brightly coloured stained glass in the Conservatory.
On display is a monumental canvas of colourful dots that appear random with no underlying structural pattern. This faces a tile grid of vividly coloured undulating surfaces of shifting hue. Throughout the exhibition, paintings, sculpture and installation are juxtaposed playing with how light touches the material: filtering, glancing, reflecting and blending.
A new piece, Begum’s first video work, captures the fugitive and dappled light as it cascades through a tree canopy in a woodland cemetery outside the artist’s city home. The time-lapse video cycles through the seasons during a year of lockdown. This piece will be displayed in Pitzhanger’s atmospheric Monk’s Dining Room designed by Soane, evoking the Gothic environs of the cemetery.
Rana Begum is working in collaboration with a group of local young artists to create a monochromatic wall drawing, composed with thumb prints, that will welcome the visitor as they arrive in the Gallery.
Clare Gough, Director of Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, says: “We are thrilled to be showing Rana Begum’s striking works which will create an exciting sensorial experience for our visitors. Begum’s exploration of shifting light, colour and form will connect magnificently to the use of light as an architectural tool by Pitzhanger’s architect Sir John Soane.”
Rana Begum said: “I’m excited to see how these works change and develop in relation to the new spaces they inhabit. At Pitzhanger, the works will be shown in the house and the gallery – spaces that will force the work to adapt and change their forms. Both the new and existing works respond directly to the way Soane designed the house, bringing light into the architecture.”
Rana Begum is a Bangladeshi-born artist who lives and works in London. Her work draws on a range of influences, from the visual language of Minimalism and Constructivism to urban landscapes and Islamic design.
This exhibition is in partnership with Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, where Dappled Light is on display until 13 March 2022. Catching Colour by Rana Begum is a new site-specific outdoor public sculpture for London City Island that will be unveiled on 9 April 2022. Rana Begum is co-curating the architecture space at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, opening on 22 June.
Installation view of Dappled Light, photo: Andy Stagg