Created by mixed media artist Anila Quayyum Agha, this elaborately carved cube with an embedded light source projects a dazzling pattern of shadows onto the surrounding gallery walls. Titled Intersections, the installation is made from large panels of laser-cut wood meant to emulate the geometrical patters found in Islamic sacred spaces. Agha shares:
The Intersections project takes the seminal experience of exclusion as a woman from a space of community and creativity such as a Mosque and translates the complex expressions of both wonder and exclusion that have been my experience while growing up in Pakistan. The wooden frieze emulates a pattern from the Alhambra, which was poised at the intersection of history, culture and art and was a place where Islamic and Western discourses, met and co-existed in harmony and served as a testament to the symbiosis of difference. I have given substance to this mutualism with the installation project exploring the binaries of public and private, light and shadow, and static and dynamic. This installation project relies on the purity and inner symmetry of geometric design, the interpretation of the cast shadows and the viewer’s presence with in a public space.
The installation Pretty Vacant encourages visitors to take a fresh look at the empty spaces of the Centraal Museum. The blue window literally and figuratively sheds a new light on the space and complements the architecture of this medieval chapel. The window is based on the ‘negative spaces’ of RAAAF ’s earlier installation Vacant NL, which was the Dutch submission for the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010. The installation in the Gerrit Rietveld-designed pavilion in Venice showed the enormous potential of 10,000 disused public buildings in the Netherlands from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries.
RAAAF’s work fits in well with the Centraal Museum aim to acquire work at the intersection of art, design and architecture. RAAAF is a young studio that represents in an outstanding way the new developments at this intersection. Museum Director Edwin Jacobs described them as “the talents in field of spatial interventions, without equivalent in any existing architectural or theoretical discourse. They are real new-thinkers in images.