© Garage Museum of Contemporary Art / Photography: Ivan Erofeev – Installation view

Hailing from Karachi, artist Rasheed Araeen (1935) initially trained as a civil engineer at NED University,  but it was only after relocating to London in the early 1960s that he gained the limelight as a prominent protagonist of Minimalism. A decade later, Araeen started facing racism in the British art world, and created a series of political performances and videos that addressed this deeply rooted sentiment head-on. The artist’s activism didn’t stop there, and started writing prolifically, creating a multimedia work that was provocatively entitled Paki Bastard, and launching Black Phoenix, a magazine on Black art in Britain, and later on, magazine Third Text, in which the work of third world artists, postcolonial issues, multiculturalism, and identity politics are conceptualized. Two years later, he curated the exhibition The Other Story, dedicated to artists from the former British colonies living in Europe.

Interest in the Araeen’s legacy flared up in the mid-2010s, resulting in exposure at various prestigious events across the planet, and eventually, a major retrospective in 2017 at Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven. Curated by Nick Aikens, Kate Fowle and Valentin Diaconov, this elaborate showcase has arrived at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. Aptly entitled Rasheed Araeen. A Retrospective, it reveals the full scope of the Araeen’s artistic practice, from his early experiments in painting in Pakistan and minimalist sculptures in his adopted hometown London, to key political pieces from the 1970s and 1980s—including his pioneering writing, editorial, and curatorial projects—as well as a selection of his new geometric paintings and wall structures.

Especially for the Russian museum, Araeen has created a sculpture which he first envisaged in 1968. In a gesture that puts the artist in dialogue with the glorious and troubled history of the Russian avant-gardeHomage to Tatlin directly references Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the 3rd International, suggesting a kinship of non-Western modernities. As part of the show, the project A Cultural Atlas by the artist and researcher Vali Mahlouji will be shown on the mezzanine floor. It presents a panorama of the intellectual history of the 20th century, reflecting artistic, political, ethical, and spiritual processes in the countries of the Global South and how those processes are intricately connected to the culture of the Western world (on through May 26). Location: Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 9/32 Krymskiy Val ulitsa (Yakimanka).

© Garage Museum of Contemporary Art / Photography: Ivan Erofeev – Installation views