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Booth No S6 | Hall No 2.1

Atul Dodiya | Dhruvi Acharya | Jitish Kallat | Mithu Sen

Rashid Rana | Reena Kallat | Shilpa Gupta | Sonia Khurana

ATUL DODIYA

The works evoke a layered dialogue with varied conceptual frameworks from the Bhau Daji Lad Museum’s collection, as they reference defining moments of history, art history as well as the semantics of museums and museum displays. These poem paintings were put on the back of the cabinets displayed at Atul’s solo show at the Museum. Referring to Arun Kolatkar’s Kala Ghoda poems seemed poignant to Atul, as it would connect with the viewing public more strongly. “Poems in English with an aroma of Mumbai’s art district: Kala Ghoda, Jehangir Art Gallery, Museum, David Sassoon Library….”. Serendipitously, these large watercolors were made during the rainy season in Bombay, which kept the paper moist enough to absorb the unique spread of watercolor, controlled expertly by him.

DHRUVI ACHARYA

Dhruvi Acharya has developed a language that erases the sharp edges of the didactic to create forms that engage irony and dark humour. Working with this suit of drawings, painting and elements of collage she creates a circuitous and continuous loop from present to past.
This new work explores the arduous emotional and psychological processes of reconstructing one’s self and returning to a purposeful life. It exposes the numbness, the disbelief and the deafening screams in one’s head, where battles have to be fought in order to understand and accept a new, altered reality. The myriad visual detailing in Acharya’s work lures viewers to reflect on their own experiences and sentiments, making the specifics of the stories and the meaning of each image unimportant, and allowing for the contemplation of our shared human existence.

REENA SAINI KALLAT

Garden of forking paths is a panoramic landscape wherein fantastical mutations occur within the natural world. Here new hybridized species of birds and animals, trees and flowers, that are otherwise fore-grounded as national symbols get combined, symbolically unifying the politically partitioned countries they represent.
In the paintingyou’ll find conjoined animals and flowers from India/Pakistan, Ireland/UK, Israel/Palestine, North and South Korea, Macedonia/Serbia, Austria/Hungary, US/Mexico or US/Cuba. As if by the defiance of nature in acknowledging the man-made divisions on the ground this paranormal setting appears like a poetic provocation from the past or a proposition for an imagined future when indeed they may reunite. Running across the landscape is the motif of the electrical cable. These conduits of contact that transmit ideas and information, bringing people together, become painstakingly woven entanglements that morph into barbed wires like barriers prodding us to think of the many bonds and borders that make our complex existence.

JITISH KALLAT

Jitish Kallat’s Rain Study (the hour of the day of the month of the season), much like his elemental suite of Wind Studies, participates in the near currents of the atmospheric to summon images that invoke the astronomical. During rain-showers, with the drawing paper held out to the sky Kallat steps outdoors. The drawing thus becomes a rainwater receptacle with constellations of descending raindrops settling on the paper. This short duration of time, measured through the artist’s breath cycles are marked as BC on the drawings. Once overlaid with a spray of dark pigment and wiped dry, the resultant image invokes galaxy clusters or stellar maps of the distant universe. The drawing thus becomes a contemplative instrument that momentarily enters the flows in our localized environment, to exponentially shift orders of magnitude probing ideas of deep space, time, scale and location.
Some of his works revisit history, overlaying the past onto the present citing momentous historical utterances, while others such as his Rain Studies contemplate the ever-transient present moment.

SHILPA GUPTA

Smoke (haziness or volatility) which hovers at the edges of tight definitions, be it those of the nation states or even ourselves, infiltrating into domestic spaces, challenging a sense of clarity/uniformity in readings that limit themselves as binaries.

MITHU SEN

The unnoticed, abandoned, impermanent toys and unusual belongings, seen as Mithu Sen’s childhood imprints entangled with each other from her Museum Of Unbelonging collection are now appearing as morphed figures with new identities. Sen is mummifying the objects, and in a way, she is reincarnating them with stronger bodies of bronze to withstand time.
Though their material presence lasts longer, but as they remain suspended against a mortal surface, their true essence is only captured through the projected shadow lines....which she wants to capture and keep for herself.
This act of re-creation and going through the process of displacement, once again creates a deeper void that accentuates the ephemeral nature of our existence. They stay…also they don’t.

RASHID RANA

Rashid Rana takes loaded images including iconic paintings and reconfigures them to evoke a different era and place. He uses famous historical paintings as source material and then reassembles them to resemble media images of violence; bomb blasts, fires, and dismemberment. In doing so, history becomes the raw material re-contextualized for addressing the present. Rana’s practice is an act of unstaging. In War Within V, Rana has discombobulated the iconic neoclassical painting titled the ‘Oath of the Horatii’ by Jacques Louis David and brought awareness to the common theme between the two time frames - 17th century and present day - of the purposelessness of war, conflict and death.

SONIA KHURANA

In Sleep Wrestlers the tension between somnolence and insomnia is performed in visual intimacy of two-ness with a revolutionary representation of women of different generations.
Mirroring and twinning are a frequent preoccupation in both topic and image - making in the work of Sonia Khurana. They now acquire a new dimension because there would be two women, two prone bodies, ostensibly mother and daughter, but also two different states of mind.
In this piece, the generational dimension marks time in two lives but also in the different moments of history they have witnessed.
The shift from horizontal to vertical is a powerful one. Sleep and death are on the mythic, horizontal axis. The upright position confers on the sleeping women the presence of an other, encountered not so much in vulnerability as in self-absorption. As women they move beyond the gendered condition of the horizontal.
Each shift is simulated as a time-lapse edit. The work creates its own rhythm for the curious mobility of the immobile in sleep, presented in compressed time.
[excerpted with permission from Griselda Pollock’s essay on artist Sonia Khurana, 2016]