• The room is a nomad (after Anju Dodiya)

    Last year, the global art world came to a sudden pause in the face of a worldwide pandemic. But not everything stopped. While some artists went silent, and some were unable to access their studios, others sat by a desk and drew every day; and some were productive like never before. Each artist was at their own rhythm, and at the center of various emotions, I, as a gallerist, was the urge to maintain equanimity. My efforts to balance the scale, giving counsel to both: the buoyant and the emotionally fragile come together today as we tell the story through each of our artists' voices.

     

    In context to my own sense of being/displacement, receiving N S Harsha's work made especially for the fair, summed up my feelings with a sweet irony. He painted Themis – the blind Greek Goddess of wisdom and good counsel -  as the local Mysore schoolgirl, playfully dressed. In place of her sword was a grocery bag, and before her a pile of kitchen vessels. The Goddess’s new avatar is the artist's attempt to amplify the voice of the countless unseen women caught in the domestic trap of contemporary society.

     

    Atul Dodiya befriended a sketchbook; daily composing drawings in response to the events he learned through the news. The set of 6 works he presents are a selection from these everyday sketches translated onto canvas, enveloped with classic, Atul-esque figures in richly-layered oil paint; raw, dense and rich in color. The emotionally-charged scenes convey the horrors of what he encountered during the pandemic, and are deeply etched in the artist’s psyche.

     

    Mithu Sen was silent for majority of the pandemic. Only recently she made a return to the purity of white paper and pricked at it relentlessly; painfully albeit creating beauty through pinpricks. How does one erase these moments of turmoil? Perhaps by revisiting places, objects, things that assume 'happy-making?' 'Until you unhome' is set of uncolored, uncontroversial, and virtuous happy-prick-drawings that serve as a disclaimer and an exercise in perceiving what the images are and are not.

     

    The mind has been on a see-saw in this past year and a half. There is the safe refuge of home and family; yet, on restless days, one craves the world outside. For Anju Dodiya, museum memories added to home-bound ruminations. There is furniture, domestic and reassuring, as in the Lichtenstein painting. There are the knotted-up emotions that mimic the playful Rei Kawakubo, or Maria Lassnig’s theatre, that hovers like a nightmare for the quarantined soul! Pacing up and down, still here, the room is a nomad! 

     

    In continuation with his abstract gestures, Jitish Kallat seems to crystallize and acquire perceptible form only to dissolve back into abstraction; celestial orbits, geographical coordinate systems, botanical, biological and topographical evocations that begin to reveal the signatures of growth, evolution and entropy.

     

    Away from his studio and welding tools, Ritesh Meshram continued working at home. He introduced paper into his sculptural practice; composing actual size structures that he now realised in metal. Continuing his signature use of motifs relating to social concerns of the economic divide in India, he constructed a stepwell, a protagonist of ancient Hindu architecture that served a source of water during periods of draught; and the form of a tent to invoke shelter. 

     

    Rashid Rana furthered his interested in dualities— those of space, time, tradition, and culture. In his Transliteration series, he uses historical iconography as his building blocks, such as Napolean Crossing the Alps painted by Jacques-Louis David of the Neoclassical period. Initially commissioned by the King of France, the original equestrian portrait depicts Napolean and his army crossing the Alps through the Great St Bernard Pass in the 1800s. By reconstructing, manipulating and splicing the image, Rana gives it a new significance; a closer look suggests an inherent contradiction, or the notion of nationalism and overt patriotism, the subject of many paintings by David.

     

    -Shireen Gandhy

     

  • The mind has been on a see-saw in this past year and a half. There is the safe refuge of... The mind has been on a see-saw in this past year and a half. There is the safe refuge of... The mind has been on a see-saw in this past year and a half. There is the safe refuge of... The mind has been on a see-saw in this past year and a half. There is the safe refuge of... The mind has been on a see-saw in this past year and a half. There is the safe refuge of... The mind has been on a see-saw in this past year and a half. There is the safe refuge of...

    The mind has been on a see-saw in this past year and a half. There is the safe refuge of home and family; yet, on restless days, one craves the world outside. For the artist, museum memories add to home-bound ruminations. There is furniture, domestic and reassuring, as in the Lichtenstein painting. There are the knotted up emotions, that mimic the playful Rei Kawakubo. Then, Maria Lassnig’s theatre, that hovers like a nightmare for the quarantined soul! Pacing up and down, still here, the room is a nomad.

  • Anju Dodiya, The Room is a Nomad, 2021

    Anju Dodiya

    The Room is a Nomad, 2021 archival digital prints on hahnemuehle bamboo paper, with painted fabric mounts
    Set of 12, Each:
    22 1/8 x 17 1/8 in
    56 x 43.4 cm
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    Rashid Rana transposes imagery from one time and place to another through manipulation, repetition and rearrangement. In the Transliteration series, Rana does not simply translate the original imagery, but rather uproots it from its classical and European contexts; violently dragging it into the pixelated perspective of the contemporary global viewer. Two Ways to a View I, 2016-2017, is a digital image of a 19th century painting titled Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David, (re)constructed twice to create a mirror-image of itself. Whereas the (reconfigured) macro views appear to a be mirror-like duplication, a closer look at its details suggest an inherent contradiction in the image, or the notion of nationalism and overt patriotism, the subject of many paintings by Jacques-Louis David. 

     

     

    Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps (c. 1801 – 1805)

  • Rashid Rana, Two Ways to a View I (Napoleon Crossing the Alps), 2016-17

    Rashid Rana

    Two Ways to a View I (Napoleon Crossing the Alps), 2016-17 C print + Plexi Face-mount
    2 panels, Each:
    85 1/8 x 70 7/8 in
    216 x 180 cm
    Edition of 5
  • Jitish Kallat’s Palindrome paintings draw from a wide array of his recurring themes and preoccupations. In these works, abstract gestures seem to crystallize and acquire perceptible form only to dissolve back into abstraction; celestial orbits, geographical coordinate systems, botanical, biological and topographical evocations begin to reveal the signatures of growth, evolution and entropy.

  • Jitish Kallat, Untitled, 2020-21

    Jitish Kallat

    Untitled, 2020-21 Mixed media on linen
    30 x 96 in
    76.2 x 243.8 cm
  • Jitish Kallat, Palindrome/Anagram Painting, 2020-21

    Jitish Kallat

    Palindrome/Anagram Painting, 2020-21 Mixed media on linen
    80 x 44 in
    203.2 x 111.7 cm
  • Continuing further from some of his elemental drawings, in the Untitled (Emergence) Drawings, Jitish Kallat sets up a three-part interaction between colourless matt lacquer, black acrylic epoxy and compressed air. Over a hand-drawn graph that undergirds the work, the emergent image produces a sense of deep tunnelling with a delicate interplay of darkness and luminosity. These works evoke botanical and topographical imagery that reveal the signatures of generative growth, evolution and entropy.

    • Jitish Kallat, Speculacrum (Form Constant), 2021
      Jitish Kallat, Speculacrum (Form Constant), 2021
    • Jitish Kallat, Speculacrum (Form Constant), 2021
      Jitish Kallat, Speculacrum (Form Constant), 2021
  • 'Until you unhome' is a set of uncolored, uncontroversial, and virtuous happy-prick-drawings, and (un)home is an (un)judgemental space which serves as a disclaimer and an exercise in perceiving what the images are and are not. We seem to enter into the gridlock of a conceptual binary that seeks to negotiate the effects that images generate, as well as the conundrum of seeking happiness through art and the larger historical purpose. This (un)home is a (un)judgemental but undeniable, un-ignored space that experiences the immateriality, the devoid. confirming the validity of our existence and our experiences. All existing things exist by comparison to nothing. This devoid is self-defined and it defines everything else.

    Mithu Sen
    August 2021

  • N S Harsha, Domestic Themis, 2021

    N S Harsha

    Domestic Themis, 2021

    Time and space’ plays an important role in the demand and delivery of justice. Periodical revisit and reframing of ‘laws’ in the parliament is an inevitable exercise humans endure to keep justice relevant to the time and space one lives in. Reflecting this context visually, here ‘Themis’ the Greek goddess of justice is revisited to relocate her with much local relevance. Here she sheds the sword for a much powerful grocery bag! She calls for justice by standing in front of a pile of kitchen vessels which are thirsty and awaiting water from the tap. A dog tags along and waits for its daily treat to be delivered. This new avatar of ‘Themis’ attempts to amplify the voice of numerous women who are caught in the domestic traps laid by the contemporary lifestyle of our society.

  • Atul Dodiya’s new images present a haunting narrative of the pandemic. Drawing on the events he learned through the daily news — including the destruction of human life, threats to public health, lack of essential resources, and weak healthcare systems — he confronts the effects of the crisis. Figures populate his canvas and are set in an intense coloration which evoke the collective fear and trauma felt by all. Amid the chaos, Dodiya finds luminosity; he depicts it with various burnt umbers, deep reds, peaches, and forest greens, capturing the turbulent times in which we live.

    • Atul Dodiya, Friends, 2021
      Atul Dodiya, Friends, 2021
    • Atul Dodiya, Mother and Son, 2021
      Atul Dodiya, Mother and Son, 2021
    • Atul Dodiya, Fishers, 2021
      Atul Dodiya, Fishers, 2021
  • Tantamount to equal divide, Ritesh Meshram

    Tantamount to equal divide

    Ritesh Meshram

    Tantamount to equal divide is Meshram’s continued investigation of primary shapes through his signature use of motifs relating to the social concerns of economic divide in India. Made up of several steel plates that are welded together by hand to resemble a shelter, it addresses the housing dichotomies in the country; masses living in overcrowded and flimsy settlements such as chawls or kholis, and the other in lavish apartments and bungalows. Contrasting its shiny surface, the work paints a picture of India’s reality.

  • Moon in square dimension, Ritesh Meshram

    Moon in square dimension

    Ritesh Meshram

    moon in square dimension is Meshram’s continued investigation of primary shapes through his signature use of motifs relating to the social concerns of economic divide in India. Comprising four separate entrances, he recalls a stepwelll; a protagonist of ancient Hindu architecture that served as a source of water during periods of draught, a sanctuary from the heat and a place for religious gatherings. At its center floats the reflection of the moon. Meshram began by building actual-size paper models, later translating them into metal, stacking, merging and arranging steel plates to playfully transform the stepwell into an object.

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