Henrietta Cullinan

Raqib Shaw Absence of God

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On my way home from a meeting I went to this at the White Cube.  The biggest work is a huge panel seven metres long, painted in industrial enamel with rhinestones. My first impression was of impossibly bright colours, fantastical creatures, the deep blue skin of human figures decorated with strings of sparkling beads. Then chimera of wildly different combinations:  cat, monkey, bird heads, lizard tails and octupus genitals. There were architectural elements, ruined columns and arches then a chasm the figures appear to be falling into while butterflies float above. There was no referencing system for someone like me in the intricate  almost lurid colours. The  solution for me was to walk slowly past letting myself be dazzled by the gems winking at me as I moved.

Upstairs, ‘Adam’ is an awkward looking lobster mounted on top of a struggling human figure lying on its back. The male figure has a featherless baby bird’s head with bats and frogs mating in its mouth and maggots crawling around on its tongue. It has more creatures for genitals.

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