Back to the Future is the section Artissima has devoted to solo exhibitions of the great pioneers of contemporary art. In 2017 the focus has been narrowed to the 1980s, and Rossi & Rossi will showcase British artist Rasheed Araeen in this section.
The 1980s represent a key period of Araeen’s practice following the artist’s political awakening. After arriving in Britain in 1964, Araeen embarked on a series of pioneering works that drew on his training as an engineer and his interest in geometry. However, as an artist from a former British colony, his work was only interpreted through colonial lenses. Frustrated by this, Araeen then, in the decade between the late 1970s and late 1980s, focused his intellectual, artistic and curatorial efforts on what art critic Jean Fisher has defined as “de-imperilising” the institutional mind. The works presented in Back to the Future confront the politics of imperial Britian, embodied within the British art establishment from which Araeen remained excluded.