Lot 78
  • 78

Raqib Shaw

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
50,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Raqib Shaw
  • Death, Beauty and Justice III
  • Signed and dated 'Raqib Shaw 2007' lower right

    Bearing Thomas Gibson Gallery label on reverse

  • Industrial paint, crystal and glitter on thick paper
  • 82 x 74.7 cm. (32 ¼ x 29 ½ in.)
  • Executed in 2007


Acquired directly from the artist 


London, Thomas Gibson Fine Art, Raqib Shaw | Rina Banerjee, 7 - 28 October 2009

Milan, Brand New Gallery, East Ex East, 9 June – 30 July 2011


Raqib Shaw and Rina Banerjee, 7 - 28 October 2009, Exhibition Catalogue, Thomas Gibson Fine Art Ltd., London, 2009, illustrated p. 12

Catalogue Note

Entitled Death, Beauty and Justice III, Raqib Shaw’s intricate and bejewelled work swarms with mythical beings roaming wild amongst a sky of ornamental splendour. Archetypal of the opulent excess that typifies Shaw’s exotic mythology-laden paintings, the artist brings to prominence these fantastical and trademark hybrid creatures. A colossal feathered peacock-beast squares up to a panther-human fusion. 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 menacing cacophony beguile the viewer, camouflaging the violence and intensity taking place within Shaw’s immersive and hedonistic backdrop.
The hallucinogenic punctuations of colour are suffused with the softness of dancing flowers and fluttering butterflies, and Shaw’s work hedonistically revels in this mysterious scene. The feathered beast has utilised its graceful ribboning tongue to puncture his nemesis with a golden sword. Shaw leans on the epic clashes in art history’s past; Peter Paul Ruben’s baroque depiction of the legend of Saint George and the Dragon has been upturned here, with the slayer become the slain. Shaw’s insightful approach reinvents themes of war and whimsical surrealist fantasy, to create a clever contemporary re-interpretation of events; the dragon does justice as the human is seduced by its monstrous beauty. Instead of a melancholic rumination of the scene, Shaw exemplifies its exoticism to celebrate a society free of any moral restraint.
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. Here Shaw fervently delivers a work of sparkling ingenuity and painterly magnificence.
“I have always been obsessed with the idea of making industrial paints and decorative materials into something beyond decorative. I want the paintings to question people’s notions of aesthetics” (R. Shaw quoted in The Garden of Earthly Delights 19 February - 20 March 2004, Exhibition Catalogue, Victoria Miro Gallery, London, 2003).