12
12
Raqib Shaw
THE PIRANESI TRIPTYCH – THE GRADUAL DECLINE OF THE KINGDOM OF GREED
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 134,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
12
Raqib Shaw
THE PIRANESI TRIPTYCH – THE GRADUAL DECLINE OF THE KINGDOM OF GREED
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 134,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London

Raqib Shaw
B. 1974
THE PIRANESI TRIPTYCH – THE GRADUAL DECLINE OF THE KINGDOM OF GREED
each: signed titled and dated 2008 on the reverse
mixed media on paper, mounted on aluminium in artist's frames
(i) 86.3 by 86.3cm.; 34 by 34in.; (ii) 86.3 by 233.7cm.; 34 by 92in.; (iii) 86.3 by 86.3cm.; 34 by 34in.
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Provenance

Collection of the Artist

Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

London, Thomas Gibson Fine Art Ltd., Raqib Shaw / Rina Banerjee, 2009, p. 10, illustrated in colour

London, Boswall House, House of the Nobleman: The Return, 2011

Catalogue Note

Entitled The Piranesi Triptych – The Gradual Decline of the Kingdom of Greed, Raqib Shaw’s imposing and bejewelled tripartite work swarms with mythical beasts running wild amongst Doric pillars and classical temple ruins. Archetypal of the opulent excess that typifies Shaw’s exotic mythology-laden paintings, this work formed the exhibition centre piece when it was shown at Thomas Gibson Fine Art in 2009. Portraying all manner of hybrid reptiles and mammals – from centaur-like creatures, giant snakes and colossal feathered bats through to alligators with wings – these intricately enamelled beings wreak havoc, engaged in an epic battle of anthropomorphic-man versus beast. The confetti of ornate colour and pools of luscious enamel that articulate this bacchanalian cacophony beguile the viewer, camouflaging the high eroticism and sexual violence taking place within Shaw’s immersive and hedonistic panorama.

The title of the present triptych refers to Giovanni Batista Piranesi (1720-1778), the eighteenth-century Italian print-maker famous for his vedute of Rome and depictions of the city’s classical ruins.  His publication of Le Antichità Romane de' tempo della prima Repubblica e dei primi imperatori (Roman Antiquities of the Time of the First Republic and the First Emperors) garnered widespread acclaim and went on to deeply influence the contemporaneous work of Claude Lorraine and Salvatore Rosa, whose evocation of an Arcadian past fettered with crumbling ruins engendered the nascent beginnings of Neo-classicism and later Romanticism. Piranesi’s reminiscence of a golden age in decline is taken on and subverted in Shaw’s triptych. Instead of a melancholic rumination on past opulence, Shaw’s work hedonistically revels in the breakdown; a once ostentatious kingdom, now in ruins, is overrun with immoral pandemonium. The fall of the Roman Empire is re-imagined and satirised by Shaw as a fantastical tableau of exotic depravity.    

Inspired by a wealth of tradition, Shaw’s work invokes the luxurious intricacy of Japanese Byobu screens; a treatment of nature and landscape evocative of Hokusai prints; a sprawling patternation synonymous with traditional Kashmiri shawls; and a bright colouration and flattened perspective characteristic of fifteenth and sixteenth-century Persian miniatures; all of which are grounded within a greater survey of western art history. In The Piranesi Triptych – The Gradual Decline of the Kingdom of Greed, Hieronymus Bosch and Claude Lorrain meet a history of oriental tradition to deliver a work of sparkling ingenuity and painterly magnificence.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
London