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on Saturday 11 Feb, 2017

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Booth | B2

Aditi Singh | Anant Joshi | Atul Dodiya | Bijoy Jain/Studio Mumbai | Dhruvi Acharya | Gigi Scaria |
Jitish Kallat | L.N. Tallur | Madhvi Subrahmanian | Mithu Sen | Nilima Sheikh | Reena Kallat | Shilpa Gupta


My days begin with sitting at my desk, with an inkwell and brush to my right, a waiting pile of paper to my left, a small sponge, a dropper and a syringe in front of me. I have a cloth on my lap to wipe my hands. Sometimes there is music playing. I pick up the dropper, fill it, and release the ink onto the surface of the paper. Today, like yesterday and like tomorrow I am doing nothing more that touching the dropper to the paper, making solid of liquid.
~ Aditi Singh


Joshi’s installs his paintings like a set of comic strips, choreographed to be discursive to the viewer, while letting his watercolour cartoons jut out like museum displays of frescoes, in his show where he revisits the history of the cartoon in newsprint. It is a meticulous study of a peculiar visual vocabulary very pertinent in a period where a political leadership offers satire in plentitude through irresponsible statements, perverse ideologies and views on science devoid of any rationalism.
~ Sumesh Sharma


Among several preoccupations of Atul Dodiya, the world of poets and poetry have constantly engaged him. His paintings often cross paths with his favourite poets, creating dialogues with the visual elements in the work which may or may nor have a direct conversation with that of the poet. 

In these series of works titled, The Kala Ghoda Paintings, Dodiya referred to one of his favourite poets, Arun Kolatkar, the ubiquitous, quirky, evocative Bombay through The Kala Ghoda Poems. While Atul's paintings are usually set in his city of birth, Kala Ghoda is the quintessential district of Bombay, encoded with history in its landscape, that Kolatkar embeds into his poems.

The large paperworks, encrusted with marble dust, painted in watery texture, Dodiya creates graphic elements with text that entwines with painterly gestures, the paper moist enough to absorb the unique spread of watercolour, as always with masterful control by the artist.


Atul Dodiya's painterly explorations in these first time ever, small scale, landscapes take us through his mental bank of embedded memories, ideas and concepts from decades of travel and thought. From freewheeling journeys through land, and sea, figure and form inspired by the Italian painter Carlo Carra, to the quintessential dry banyan tree from this part of the world, this work espouses the sheer need to be free and captures the stillness of time, in that freedom.


Set deep in the world of organic materiality, Bijoy’s recent work is a presentation of a process, which combines the elements of air, water and the earth in their most natural form. Water binds the initial layer of lime with cow dung and bamboo matting, which have been nourished by the earth. A final impression of jute string dipped in pigment paint forms the finishing layer and the sunlight cements all of these together.

Like the form of a structure, for example a Tazia construction, embodies the spatial and temporal culture of its time. The unique application in this artwork is a codified formlessness of that, and every other form. Jain believes that this work is an open ended conversation about the points of intersection between form and formlessness.


In this Vicissitude, Dhruvi 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.


In a distinct turn from his commentary on urban landscapes, Scaria has commentated on the undercurrents of everyday existence of citizens, being pushed beyond their control. Perched at eye level on bricks with alphabetical indentations, with life like proportions, these bronze humanoid figurines are not more than 18 inches in height. Eager to give form to his personal interest in working with the human figure and form, the equanimity of this sculpture captures the moment between complete submission to circumstance, and perceived control over them.


The elemental, meditative work titled Wind Study (Hilbert Curve) derives its form from clusters of Hilbert Curves, which are continuous fractal space-filling curves first described by the German mathematician David Hilbert in 1891. Through a carefully plotted arrangement of various orders of Hilbert Curves and connector lines a template forming a portion of the infinite dimensional space known as Hilbert Space is formed. Sometimes an entire drawing is formed by a single curling line and this is overlaid one line at a time with an inflammable liquid and set aflame.

Within moments this line undergoes phase transition- from liquid to semisolid to fire to finally arise as dark fumes that record for posterity the movement of the wind at that moment in time; the elemental drawings become instruments to eavesdrop on a silent conversation between wind and fire registering invisible atmospheric flows within the drawing.


Inspired by the mythological story Trishanku, who is suspended in his own heaven as a compromise between the earth that he belonged to and the heaven that he sought. This word, Trishanku,  has come to denote a middle ground between one's goals or desires and one's current state or possessions.

Not a mere layering of chains, but skillfully creating the perfect lock system of these chainmail coverlets in use since medieval times. It’s almost like a weapon proof cover for the wearer. Metaphorically, this imagery connotes the tension point between the reality of what you are and the desire of what you want to be, and the feeling of being on the precipice of that shift in self. 


The previous iterations of this work were hollow and with this work, a change of medium here is symptomised by the granite footprints.  The footprint is left ubiquitously to question the attachment with the form of the sculpture and highlighting the relationship of weight with gravity and wonder that gravity is what gives mass and weight its meaning. Without it, would hollowness precede us all?


Remaining constant amidst the flux of human intervention, the earth is the global memory bank and the ground beneath our feet is a testament to that. Encompassing history through its crevices, this artwork is a composite of an aerial view of a metropolis, detail of an urban plan and an archaeological site.


Created for the solo show at Chemould Prescott Road to accompany her Terrain installation of 16 recto verso scrolls, these small Casein Tempera paintings espouse the lament in Nilima’s language of documenting contemporary history.  Partaking in making landscapes which are mourning the distance and loss across civilisations, these works carry the vulnerability and strength of conveying emotions that are raw and universally felt.


In the photo-pieces titled ‘Saline Notations’, texts inscribed using salt, present fragments of poems or unfold as a series of soliloquies or dialogues, that submerge with a rising tide. These meditative works point to the intrinsic relationship between the body and the oceans while alluding to the fragility and unpredictability of existence.


In 100 hand-drawn maps, the artist asked a hundred ordinary people to draw the map-logo of India by memory. People drawing the map are mentally faced with their uncertaincomprehension of the borders of India itself. For instance, many of these incorrectly include the island of Sri Lanka as part of modern day India. As Benedict Anderson has pointed out, the internalization of the bounded national map form is one of the key ways of symbolizing the modern nation-state, and one of its most potent form is the “map-as-logo.” The map logos in Gupta’s project support Anderson’s thesis, but their dramatic variations also suggest that India is popularly imagined in diverse ways that do not fully conform to its official borders.
~ Iftikar Dadi