Taiba Akhtar. Ruskin in the Contemporary

Taiba Akhtar presented her response to visiting Highbury Hall at the recent Ruskin symposium at Birmingham School of Art: Celebrating Imperfection: John Ruskin and the Creative Arts in the 21stCentury.

‘In relation to the visit, I worked on a set of fragments cutting in and out of the lino taking inspiration from Highbury’s interior, particularly the cracked marbled patterned tiles correlating to Interconnected 03, 04 and 06 exhibited at the BMI. As the black merged with the white, silver and blue areas created delicacy and fragility, coupled with the extender’s transparent nature enhanced the fragments residue. Going back to the fireplace, I was drawn to the cracks and the pattern gradually fading, associating the passage of time, thus translating and evolving. Fragmentising wholes encourages one to slow down and pick up minute detail through close attentiveness. 

Marks are made, marks are cut, surfaces are covered, and surfaces are cut, twisted and turned as multiples unravelling yet all derive from wholes. The wholes, in a sense are incomplete and the fragments in flux yesterday, today and tomorrow. Visibility to Invisibility, Invisibility to Visibility(2019) entailed 12 engraved sculptures positioned around 13 acrylic risers alongside delicate cut outs from iterations of Infinite and Interconnected spread across a plinth, as toppling precarious forms implying a dystopian sense. This was due to the risers stacked from the left, gradually spread dynamically as opposed to contrived forming little islands on a landscape immersing the viewer to look beneath the surfaces. The printed fragments scattered and scrunched embraces their imperfections shifting one from their initial pristine utopian nature.’

Interconnected 03, 04 and 06. Prints from Art after Nature, BMI Ruskin Exhibition

And on that note, I hope you enjoy seeing the variety of responses in relation to Celebrating Imperfection: John Ruskin and the Creative Arts in the 21stCentury. Just before I end, if anyone is interested in seeing more imagery or reading further about any of the works discussed feel free to take a look at www.taibakhtar.com.

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