Ever since the exterior of the Manchester Art Gallery was overtaken with organic decoration in February, I'd been curious to see what the Raqib Shaw exhibition inside was all about. It wasn't until the outside had sprung into bloom that I finally made the trip and boy, am I ever glad I did.
The pieces of art were breathtakingly beautiful, painted with enamels, glitter and rhinestones, which sounds garish but the shiny brightness was just a ruse for the gruesome subject matters. Look closely and you will see all sorts of grimness, from airborne monsters attacking royal beasts, to monkey warriors being castrated, to intestines spilling out across the canvas. The last thing you see in the exhibition is a sculpture of a lobster/shrimp/thing attacking a naked half-man, half-bird. No amount of glitter could disguise its goriness and it was so overwhelming both my boyfriend and our friend had to have a little sit down to recollect themselves after seeing it up close (I was OK though, just fascinated. I'm clearly made of stronger stuff).
Those of a somewhat nervous disposition could just focus on the colour, glitter, and unusual painting technique of blending different colours of enamel to create a marble effect. My photos do not represent the grandeur of these pieces; I'd say they had to be seen to be really appreciated. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up from me, fine holiday fun. Though perhaps not one for the kiddies.
Oh, and I also wore an outfit. But how do I discuss clothes after seeing such a mind-bending exhibition?! Can't stop thinking about the psychedelic colours and unsettling images..!
Forever 21 bag