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Occasional Geometries: Rana Begum Curates the Arts Council Collection

04 May 2017

An Arts Council Collection National Partner exhibition
15 July–29 October 2017
Longside Gallery
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) presents Occasional Geometries, an exhibition selected largely from the Arts Council Collection by Bangladeshi-born artist and guest curator Rana Begum. Begum has established an internationally respected practice creating immaculately conceived and constructed abstract installations that challenge the distinction between two and three-dimensional practice, sculpture and painting.
A scroll through Begum's Instagram feed immediately reveals a particular personal interest and delight in the occasional geometries of life. This might be the definition of an air vent, the architecture of a stairwell articulated through light and shadow, or the abstract pattern of a handrail. Begum says, of a childhood memory: ‘One particular day as a child in Bangladesh reading the Quran at the local mosque, in a tiny room dappled with morning light. The light and the repetition of recitation, all familiar elements, suddenly came together in a strong feeling of calm and exhilaration. It is one of my strongest memories and the experience of calm and exhilaration is what I try to capture in my work’.
Begum has selected works from the Arts Council Collection by artists who share a similar viewpoint and those from different generations. Throughout Longside Gallery, Begum’s selection creates an architectural, spatial and playful experience – one that is animated through movement and changing light. Her approach has been to bring together abstract works that, as she describes, ‘have a soul’. The exhibition takes its name from Richard Wentworth’s photograph Tirana, Occasional Geometries (2000), which features in the show. In his photography, Wentworth documents the everyday, paying attention to objects, occasional and involuntary geometries, as well as uncanny situations that often go unnoticed.
Soda Lake (1968) by Nigel Hall is a response to the physical geometry of the southern Californian lake of the same name in the Mojave Desert, where the views extend so far it is possible to perceive the curvature of the Earth. Hall observed that ‘spatial intervals and distance were the dominant features of the landscape, which was also intensely silent. It seemed, there, less important for forms to occupy space than that they should have the ability to indicate space and draw attention to it… The subject matter of Soda Lake is space, and its components determine how the space is channelled, trapped or disclosed’.
In Hungarian artist Dora Maurer’s photograph, Studies of Minimal Movements (walk on the seashore with Klaus Groh) (1972), the artist breaks down the simple actions of four people walking by the sea so that the viewer can view the piece ‘as movement, not a photograph of movement’. Maurer’s work encourages discussion, allowing for various interpretations and possibilities, but also focuses on the grammar of geometry and mathematical systems.
The exhibition also features two new works by British-Pakistani artist, Rasheed Araeen. Jub Chuker Chulay Jayain (When the Chakras Float Away) (2016–17), sees the concept behind two of the artist’s historic works – Chakras and Triangles, made in 1969 and 1970 respectively – combined to create an entirely new work. Jub Chuker Chulay Jayain (When the Chakras Float Away) features painted plywood circles which float on the historic Lower Lake, photographs of which are displayed alongside painted plywood triangles in a 4 x 4 formation. Araeen’s Zero to Infinity (2016–17), a large interactive sculpture made of colourful wooden open-framework cubes, is presented in front of Longside Gallery’s vast windows overlooking the Bretton Estate. Arranged in the open air, the cubes are initially positioned in an ordered structure, but the artist’s intention is for viewers to interact with its components by moving them into new configurations, breaking down the hierarchy of sculpture production.
A strong use of colour continues inside the gallery with Gary Hume’s Fragment of a Rainbow (2011). Hume has divided the rainbow into its seven colour sections and the fragmented arcs of different shapes and sizes are displayed high above eye level as if in a joyful dance around the gallery walls. March of the Valedictorians (2016) by Jesse Darling is a collection of bright red primary school chairs towering above visitors on long, bent legs. In Estelle Thompson’s Whiteishwhiteishness (2003) the artist plays with expanses of white paint, set off with light grey rectangles and primary colours, inviting the viewer to explore the painterly nature and tonality of the work.
Jill Constantine, Head of Arts Council Collection said:
“Rana Begum, winner of this year’s Abraaj Group Art Prize, is one of the most innovative and exciting young artists working in Britain today and we are delighted that she has accepted our invitation to curate an exhibition from the Arts Council Collection. For this exhibition, Begum has chosen to address the theme of occasional geometries of life. The show promises to be playful, colourful and it will offer a number of imaginative interpretations of the Arts Council Collection.”
Visitors can join Rana Begum for an Exhibition Walk and Talk on 14 September 2017 to find out more about her practice and the inspiration behind Occasional Geometries. The exhibition is also accompanied by a limited-edition publication, presented in an artist-designed case, with texts by Diana Campbell Betancourt, Artistic Director of Samdani Art Foundation and Bellas Artes Projects and Chief Curator of the Dhaka Art Summit; and YSP Senior Curator, Dr Helen Pheby.

Notes to Editors

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is part of the Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme. Arts Council Collection is managed by Southbank Centre, London on behalf of Arts Council England. Visitors are invited to see more of the Arts Council Collection in the Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition, Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art which is at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park from 1 April to 18 June 2017. Other 2017 Arts Council Collection National Partner exhibitions curated by YSP are: [Re]construct (Chapel), 1 April–25 June 2017 and Tread Softly (Bothy Gallery), 27 May–3 September 2017.

About Rana Begum
Born in Bangladesh in 1977, Rana Begum now lives and works in London. In 1999, she graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design and, in 2002, gained an MFA in Painting from Slade School of Fine Art. In 2016, Begum was commissioned to make a major new outdoor work, No. 700 Reflectors, for Lewis Cubitt Square at King’s Cross and is the winner of the prestigious 2017 Abraaj Group Art Prize.
Recent and forthcoming exhibitions include: Space Light Colour, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (12 May–1 October 2017); The Space Between, Parasol Unit (2016); Into boundless space I leap, Maxwell Centre, UK (2016); 11th Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2016); Solo Show, Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne, Germany (2016); Towards an Infinite Geometry, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai, India (2015); Future Light, Vienna Biennale 2015: Ideas for Change; Solo Show, Galeri Mana, Istanbul, Turkey (2014); Solo Project, Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2014); No.10, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2013); Manifold, Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne, Germany (2013); The Folded Page, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai, India (2011); New Works, Delfina Foundation, London, UK (2010); and Fractured Symmetry, Bischoff/Weiss, London, UK (2010).
Begum has also participated in many international group exhibitions, including: New Visions, Tensta Konsthal, Stockholm, Sweden (2016); Geometries of Difference, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New York, USA (2015); The Language of Human Consciousness, Athr Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (2014); Summer Show, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2014); Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2012) where she received the Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture.
About Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2017. It is an independent charitable trust and registered museum (number 1067908) situated in the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire. Founded in 1977 by Executive Director Peter Murray, YSP was the first sculpture park in the UK, and is the largest of its kind in Europe, providing the only place in the world to see Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man in its entirety alongside a significant collection of sculpture, including bronzes by Henry Moore, and site-specific works by Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash and James Turrell. YSP also mounts a world-class, year-round temporary exhibitions programme including some of the world’s leading artists across five indoor galleries and the open air. Recent highlights include exhibitions by Not Vital, KAWS, Bill Viola, Anthony Caro, Fiona Banner, Ai Weiwei, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Amar Kanwar, Yinka Shonibare MBE and Joan Miró. YSP’s core work is made possible by investment from Arts Council England, Wakefield Council, Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation and Sakurako and William Fisher through the Sakana Foundation. YSP was named Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2014. ysp.org.uk

About Arts Council Collection
The Arts Council Collection is a national loan collection of British art from 1946 to the present day. With nearly 8,000 works and more than 1,000 loans made to over 100 venues a year, it is seen by millions of people in public spaces from galleries and museums to hospitals, libraries and universities. Representing one of the most important collections of British modern and contemporary art in the world, it includes work from Francis Bacon, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley and Grayson Perry. The Collection supports and promotes British artists by acquiring art at an early stage of their careers. The Arts Council Collection is managed by Southbank Centre, London and includes the Sculpture Centre located at Longside, Yorkshire Sculpture Park. artscouncilcollection.org.uk

About National Partner Exhibitions 
To mark the Arts Council Collection’s 70th anniversary, Arts Council England invested in a network of four National Partner museums and galleries across England, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, Birmingham Museums Trust, The Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool and the Collection’s existing partner, Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The partners will provide a year-round home for art works within the Collection, hosting a special programme of at least 24 National Partner exhibitions between April 2016 and Spring 2019.

About Arts Council England
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. artscouncil.org.uk

About Southbank Centre
The Arts Council Collection is managed by Southbank Centre, London on behalf of Arts Council England. Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. The Arts Council Collection is managed by Southbank Centre, London on behalf of Arts Council England. southbankcentre.co.uk


Rana Begum Press Release

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Rasheed Araeen, Zero to Infinity, 2017. Courtesy the artist and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Jesse Darling, March of the Valedictorians, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Arcadia Missa. Photo Tim Bowditch

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Charles Danby, Untitled Twenty Five Sixty, 2016. Courtesy the artist and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Norman Dilworth, Single Line, 1976. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © the artist. Courtesy Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Flore Nove´-Josserand, Better Days, 2017. Courtesy the artist and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Ayesha Singh, Hybrid Drawings, 2017. Wrought iron. Courtesy the artist and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Richard Wentworth, Tirana 1999, Occasional Geometries, 2000. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © the artist. Courtesy Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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