Come Undone

Golden Square, Frith Street Gallery, London (2024)

Many of the works in the exhibition emerge from Raqs’s commission for the Jencks Foundation at The Cosmic House. This resulting film, The Bicyclist Who Fell into a Time Cone (2023), is a poetic reflection on perceptions of a particular moment in history while moving through time, past and present, interrogating varied geographies of perceived centres and peripheries.

The vinyl record Knots and Tears (2024) provides a soundtrack for the whole exhibition. This poetic and playful meditation on knots, tears, loops and watery bodies is spoken by the artists, accompanied by the sounds of now-extinct birds, including the knot bird. With its capacity to fly incredible distances, the small knot bird has a mythological status in many cultures, and is evoked when speaking about courage and journeys.

A knot is indicative of how closely something is bound, tied up, with itself, or with something else. As a marine measure of speed, it is also suggestive of how quickly, how speedily, something moves away. Knots link worlds of passages, transitions and departures. Knots that bind, knots that fray. Tears follow knots.

We are the knot, and sometimes, we come undone. And then, it’s back to living again, to know how to thread the rope, to tie the knot, to read the wind, and to attend to care and the cosmos. 

Twisted Water/ Meander

18 Hand twisted Borosil glass, 18 hand-tufted viscose carpets 50cm X 32cm X 3cm each

Golden Square, Frith Street Gallery, London (2024)

This work is a poetic reflection on perceptions of a particular moment in history while moving through time, past and present, interrogating varied geographies of perceived centres and peripheries. Each glass knot rests on an individual small carpet which is woven with patterns from Indian rivers, this in turn sits on a transparent Perspex shelf. As one moves from one to the other, the transparency of the shelves – set at varying heights – echoes the cresting and rippling of water.

Tears (are not only from weeping)

Video loop, Animating a microscopic image of a human tear (photographed by Prof. Norman Barker from Johns Hopkins University), Dimensions variable

The Laughter of Tears | Kunstvereun Braunschweig | Braunschweig, Germany (2021)
Sharjah March Meeting, Sharjah Art Foundation (2024)
Come Undone, Frith Street Gallery, London(2024)

Tears are not only for weeping, they lubricate the possibility of vision. Sometimes we see things better when we cry, cry out aloud, or laugh, till the tears come unbidden.


Series of 7 framed, laser engravings on sandpaper

25 x 30 x 5 cm / 9 7/8 x 11 3/4 x 2 in (each)
Each edition of 3

Golden Square, Frith Street Gallery, London (2024)

Borderlands (2024) is a series of seven laser engravings on black sandpaper. Rendered black on black, the hard-to-decipher drawings riff off medieval depictions of animals where the intended creature and its depiction only nominally match. A leopard with a human-like face, a snake that resembles a dragon, an owl with a moustache interact with diagrammatic time cones. All of these are merely approximations of their intended (whether creature or time), and each allows to both fix a possibility as well as to expand its horizon.

Unruly Iris of Dissent (U.I.D. 2)

Video Loop

 Art Heritage Gallery, New Delhi (2023); Golden Square, Frith Street Gallery, London (2024)

Eyes continue their intensity in the video Unruly Iris of Dissent (U.I.D 2) (2023), created 12 years after Raqs’ video work The Untold Intimacy of Digits (U.I.D) (2011), which animated a nineteenth century Bengali peasant’s handprint found in a London archive, into a spectral count towards infinity. This new piece magnifies a restless human iris, focussing on the U.I.D (Unique Identification Database) that lies at the heart of the ‘Aadhar’ system which aims to turn every person resident in India into a number. The video, playing again with the acronym U.I.D in its title, Unruly Iris of Dissent (U.I.D 2), looks eye-to-eye with power that wants to look a little too closely at human bodies. A set of four prints on metallic paper Delta (2023–24) play with imagery from these two pieces.

Twisted Time

Borosil Glass, talisman and plinth

1 – 28 x 28 x 9 cm / 11 x 11 x 3 1/2 in
2 – 20 x 20 x 6 cm / 7 7/8 x 7 7/8 x 2 3/8 in
Plinth: 91.4 x 91.4 x 91.4 cm / 36 x 36 x 36 in

Golden Square, Frith Street Gallery, London (2024)

Twisted Time (2024) is formed from two glass bicycle wheels mounted on a mirrored plinth where they rotate slowly. Twisted from what might have been a collision, both wheels turn into möbius forms in their reflections. A möbius strip is a continuous form with no beginning or end, it loops like the twisted rotating wheels which in turn echo the movement of the nearby record player, and the looping of the video works.