Matthew Krishanu - New Now London Thursday, December 8, 2022 | Phillips

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  • "I have always thought of that scene as being almost like a stage with figures that can be moved around. I’ve always liked the dynamic between the figures, it’s a bit like a mousetrap – you get things as taut as possible and then you leave it. It felt like a pregnant image."
    —Matthew Krishanu
    Belonging to Matthew Krishanu’s Another Country series in which the artist reflects upon his and his brother’s experiences growing up in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Weapons illustrates two young boys, one with a bow and arrow in hand which appears to be ambiguously pointed in the direction of an adult figure tentatively holding a machete. The style of the piece only reaffirms the dubious nature of this human interaction; flattened perspective, softened lines and an equally pale, restrained palette, all result in a vivid image, which in the artist’s own words, exists ‘somewhere between the precision of a photograph and something looser.’i Although inspired by a family holiday to Sylhet during which a garden worker made Krihsanu and his brother a bow and arrow, the context is deliberately obscured and interpretation left open here, the artist focussing our attention on the synergy between the characters and underlining the broader themes at play. Wearing denim jeans and trainers, the youths contrast with the barefoot adult figure, suggesting a disparity in culture and class which highlights the ex-pat living experience in countries such as Bangladesh, a theme recurrent in Krishanu’s work. The insinuation of violence, through the inclusion of weaponry, adds tension to the piece, which in turn alludes to further cross-cultural themes such as the legacy of colonialism and empire.


    Having graduated from Central Saint Martins with an MA in 2009, Matthew Krishanu has taken part in exhibitions in locations such as the Hayward Gallery, London; Birmingham Museum and Gallery; and the National Museum in Gdańsk, Poland; among others. Weapons featured as a central work in his 2018 solo exhibition, The Sun Never Sets, which took place at Huddersfield Gallery in 2018 before travelling to the Midlands Art Centre. It also formed a part of the group exhibition, And Beyond, at New Art Project, London, in 2019. Krishanu’s solo exhibition Playground is currently on view at Niru Ratnam gallery in London. 


    i David Trigg, ‘Matthew Krishanu – interview: “I want my painting to exist somewhere between the prevision of a photograph and something looser”, Studio International, 3 September 2021, online.


    • Provenance

      Amrita Jhaveri Limited, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Huddersfield Art Gallery; Birmingham, Midlands Arts Centre, The Sun Never Sets, Matthew Krishanu, 23 June 2018 - 10 March 2019, n.p. (illustrated)
      London, New Art Projects, And Beyond, 2 May - 29 June 2019

Property from an Important Private Collection



signed, titled and dated 'WEAPONS, 2018 Matthew Krishanu' on the overlap
oil on canvas
180.5 x 240.1 cm (71 1/8 x 94 1/2 in.)
Painted in 2018.

Full Cataloguing

£10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for £44,100

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Gibbs
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now
+44 20 7901 7993


New Now

London Auction 8 December 2022