Tayeba Begum Lipi recreates everyday objects such as bathtubs, baby perambulators, picture frames, and handbags, as if they are encased in their own suit of metallic armor. Closer inspection reveals that their polished surfaces are comprised of gleaming stainless steel razor blades, carefully welded into these rigid yet fragile structures. In a complementary series of works, Lipi fabricates items of clothing, such as bikinis and nightdresses, from gold plated safety pins.
Tools of precision and security, the safety pins and blades transform quotidian objects into items imbued with luminosity and an atypical beauty. Yet, the implication that they have become a protective armor for their implicitly female users, adds a sinister and, at times, melancholic undertone. The air of danger embedded within these objects as a result of their sterile material is further enforced by titles such as The Stolen Dream and Trapped.
Lipi's relationship with her materials dates back to the artist's childhood, during which the ever-growing families of her twelve older siblings preoccupied her life. Her work reflects her visceral memory of purchasing and cleansing sparkling new razor blades and pins, as the crucial, often only, tools available to the midwifes assisting with the arrival of each new addition to the family.
Tayeba Begum Lipi, b. 1969. Major exhibitions include Sonsbeek 2016, Museum Arnhem, Netherlands (2016); Tayeba Begum Lipi (solo), Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York, USA, (2016); Group Show, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York, USA (2015), Frontiers Reimagined, 56th Venice Biennale collateral event, Italy (2015), Reversal Reality (solo), Shrine Empire, Delhi, India (2015), Tayeba Begum Lipi (solo), Dhaka Art Summit, Dhakar, Bangladesh (2014), No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (2013); Cycle, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil (2013), No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (2013), Bangladesh Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennale, Italy, (2011). Major collections holding her work include the Devi Art Foundation, India; Guggenheim Museum Collection, USA; and Samdani Art Foundation, Bangladesh.
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