floor/wall: Chemould CoLab | Anirudh Shaktawat

24 November - 23 December 2023

Anirudh Shaktwat’s practice is based in the Southern Aravalli ranges of Rajasthan where he lives and works. This is an area heavily mined due to its rich mineral content. It is also home to late-medieval architectural sites of interest. The region is one in which many histories collide – natural, architectural, and industrial amongst others. Shaktawat explores these convergences in his work, visually and materially.


A crucial, regional site of interest drawn from in this body of work is the Dungarpur Juna Mahal – a 13th-century, seven-story palace complex. Shaktawat’s work considers the choices artists made when designing the palace’s interiors. How are the stylistic strategies employed in the palace reflective of the coinciding introduction of industrial extraction in the area? Frescos painted to mimic marble slabs and mirror-tiled floors serve as a jumping-off point to think about materiality. In Fragment and Untitled (wainscoting), the viewer is offered a question – Is a slab of marble defined by its textural appearance or by its elemental constituents?


The evolution of Shaktawat’s practice has been a muddying of the water. Having previously used materials in their raw form with minimal intervention, his materials now elude us. Nothing is quite as it seems, beckoning us to look closer. Many of the materials utilised in this body of work – Zinc slag, marble slurry, and waste Lapis Lazuli – are byproducts of industrial processes in the area; geo-tagging each piece and connecting it permanently to its source. With this body of work also comes an injection of imagery; a departure from previously spare installations. In Untitled (K)we see the hollow that Srinathji, an incarnation of Krishna would occupy; a hollow representative of the cave Krishna entered to lift Mount Govardhan. The image is excavated with the removal of the central figure and can be seen as an allegory for the excavation and extraction in the surrounding region. Being rendered in Zinc slag1, the painting materially mirrors its locus as well.


floor/wall invites us to consider how the development of visual language is connected to the industry and economies of a region.


Anirudh Shaktawat (b.1999, Ahmedabad, India) has exhibited globally. Recent solo exhibitions include non-monolith, a body in particles, Blueprint12, New Delhi, India (2022); Chaumasa: Four Months of Monsoon, SITE Gallery, Chicago, USA (2020). Recent group exhibitions include Continuum (after Jitish Kallat), 60 Years of Gallery Chemould, Chemould CoLab, Mumbai, India (2023); The Art Family Award Show, Anant Art, Noida, India (2023); Naya Anjor, Anant Art, Bikaner House, New Delhi, India (2022); Abhivyakti City Arts Project, Ahmedabad, India. Shaktawat’s work has been recognised by multiple institutions and has been shortlisted for the TAF Emerging Artist Award, South Asia, The Arts Family, London,UK (2021) and has won the Space 118 Fine Arts Grant, Space 118, Mumbai, India (2021). Shaktawat holds a BFA with Distinction from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA (2021).


1 Slag - A by-product of smelting ores and recycled metals. Slag is mainly a mixture of metal oxides and silicon dioxide.


Written by Thara Parambi


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