Tahmina Negmat receives debut solo show at Marlborough Contemporary
The winner of the of The Valerie Beston Artists’ Trust Prize 2019 Tahmina Negmat’s debut solo exhibition, Eyebrows With Teeth, transforms Marlborough Contemporary with soulful physicality.
The Valerie Beston Artists’ Trust was established in 2006 on the death of Valerie Beston, a former director of the gallery, to support artists at the beginning of their careers. The charity collaborates with the Royal College of Art to award an annual prize to a postgraduate student selected from the degree show. The prize comprises a studio at SPACE for a year, a financial contribution towards materials, tutorial support, generously provided by the RCA, and an exhibition at the end of the year.
Born in Uzbekistan, Tahmina Negmat primarily works with terracotta, a weighty material that proved to be both a natural struggle to work with, but that in theory embodied her conceptual aims. By primarily focusing on this concept of weight, Negmat explores extremities in visual, metaphorical and personal terms, meaning that as a subject, it is integral to understanding her oeuvre. Chiefly, weight refers to the diverse materiality that Negmat intentionally incorporates into her work in order to oppose the traditions of fine art. By incorporating found objects such as parachutes, sleeping bags and bed springs, her heavily worked surfaces become antagonistic reactions to what she considers to be convenient, sleek painted canvases associated with the traditional, a concept she considers a ‘compromise.’
In Negmat’s rebellion against the traditional and convenient, she further explores this concept of weight in broader, metaphorical terms. In her adaptation of Vladimir Mayakovsky’s poem Cloud in Trousers, weight is treated not as a material, but as an audible concept. Cloud in Trousers serves a dual purpose in terms of Negmat’s work. Firstly, by referencing the unforgiving nature of clay, this concept of weight is only further embedded into the core of her artistry. While theoretically, the rhythmic structure of Mayakovsky’s poem provides a replicable explanation for both her work and artistic intentions.
Negmat conjoins two entirely disconnected ideologies into what she proclaims to be “the right context […] paradoxical yet perfect, almost tactile, like terracotta clay”. By incorporating these ideologies into a singular highly personalised body of work, she creates something both defiant of gravity, whilst concurrently weighted down by it.
Exhibition Dates: 21–24 May, 2019
Artist Website: https://www.tahminanegmat.com/