Soul in the Machine by Khyle Raja at the Rich Mix

I openly admit that I’m somewhat of a geek. I grew up on those old black and white Sci-Fi movies that were shown late at night, the ones that taught us about the imminent destruction of the world and impending doom of an alien invasion. My mental understanding of the future was created by Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and H. P. Lovecroft in gruesome detail. So it’s no surprise that I became enamoured with the work of artists such as H. R. Giger and Luis Royo.

But it’s been a long time since I’ve seen work that is as existentially catastrophic in its depiction of the future as Khyle Raja’s. His haunting post-apocalyptic landscapes are a surreal reminder of the future. This depressing futuristic view was designed by our escalating fear of nuclear war following Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and are what Oppenheimer probably foresaw when he famously quoted the Bhagavad Gita , ‘ Now I have become death, the destroyer of worlds’.

Raja’s depiction of a future without humanity is one firmly fixed in contemporary consciousness. The mechanistic wastelands in his images are post-modern Gothic and the ultimate destination of the rapid technological growth of the modern world. A homage to mechanical degradation and environmental decay.

Yet these landscapes create a world you can get lost in; a holocaust of nature, edgy in their surreal, almost metaphysical sense of despair. This melancholy foreshadows the image, but doesn’t detract from the sense of serenity you feel as you follow each macabre brush stroke.

Khyle Raja is a London based artist. He is also a science fiction junky, and this combined with his background in architecture has helped to create this ghostly landscapes.

Raja will be hosting a discussion called Radical Notions on the Edge of Muslim Art at the Rich Mix on the 31st July 2013 at 6:45pm.

Take the red pill and head down to the Rich Mix in Shoreditch before Soul in the Machne ends on the 31st August 2013.

Exhibition Info:

Khyle Raja:

Rich Mix


35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA.