Anju Dodiya | Atul Dodiya | Bhuvanesh Gowda | Desmond Lazaro | Jitish Kallat
Mithu Sen | Ritesh Meshram | Shakuntala Kulkarni | Varunika Saraf
Mattresses belong to the domestic terrain and here, I continue to explore their surface as a base to
paint images of the home, dream and body. Desires and aspirations are just a flip second away
from the real. The process of staining and marking with watercolour and charcoal on the
unbleached cotton, which resists, is playful. The geometric shapes and lines reference the
modernist minimal art of the 70s, while the elements of the lamp (after Carlo Mollino) and the
landscape (after the Italian primitives) betray my attitude of devouring images from diverse
sources and spilling them onto my work.
These drawings with the humility of the mundane, exist between the mysterious moment when
all is familiar and yet nothing is – in the artist’s studio, in the bedroom or in love.
Painted Photographs / Paintings Photographed
The works 'Painted Photographs / Paintings Photographed', or ' Mahatma and Masters' show my interest in the first half of the 20th century India and Europe. India's independence movement along with the European Modern Art movement, has had a significant influence on my artistic outlook. Mahatma Gandhi, a key figure in India's freedom movement, with his profound humanism has touched me deeply.
I have juxtaposed two different movements in history, by arranging them side by side.
In the first half of the 20th century Europe, a huge dramatic shift took place, particularly in France, with artists like Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, to name a few, changing the whole notion and concept of art. During this period, India was fighting for freedom which resulted in Independence from British rule and ended with Gandhi's assassination.
Photography has a key role to play in this body of work.
Gandhi's life in the context of India's freedom is available in written words and in photographs. Here, we have those images painted in oil on canvas. While, the original paintings and sculptures by modern Masters, which were done during that period, we see here in the form of photographs.
I was interested in this reversal role of the two mediums ; The changing role of photographs being transformed into paintings and paintings/sculptures being seen here in the form of photographs.
In the Antarmukhi I and II, Antar - meaning inside and Mukh - meaning the mouth, or more appropriately here, the entry point ; Bhuvanesh Gowda has created a statement about the starting point of looking inwards and within. In a unique pedestal like structure, these carved salvaged wood sculptures breathe in movement suspended in time, and the concept of introspection and retrospection is wounded into the ethos of Gowda’s artistic practise.
Museum Piece #4 - (un)drawing
I, mithu sen, declare that from 01.01.18 till my next declaration in the future, all mix media drawings measuring 15 inches x 12 inches, mainly with red ink and collage on white hand made paper, will be dated randomly anytime anytime and anywhere between 1997 to 2017. The date/provinance will not be indicative of the actual date of production.
Each byproduct will be offered to interested buyers at 10% (5% + 5%) lesser than the current market value at the time of the sale.
The title of this work, “Speak, your life is still your own”, is a line borrowed from the English translation of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem Bol ke lab azaad hai teray. This poem is particularly relevant in today’s context as it urges us to speak out against injustice before it is too late. The rise of right-wing populism in India has resulted in increased violence against the marginalised, particularly the Muslims, Dalits and other ethnic minorities. Social justice and fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution are increasingly challenged. In order to enforce the Hindutva worldview on the country, the right-wing in India attempts to rewrite history. Every example that represents a progressive and syncretic tradition is perceived as a threat. Historical figures are vilified, anyone who stands against historical injustice and oppression, whether they are academics, activists, journalists or even students face violent reprisals, all forms of progressive literature are considered seditious, while archaeological monuments which are not part of their conception of the past face neglect and even destruction. Our history and collective memories appear adrift without a present.
We need to dispel the collective amnesia that is gripping the society and resist all attempts made by the right to rewrite history and tamper with the social fabric of the society. This painting is a call to fight equally for our past and present, so that we may still have a future. To look at our history without the lens of nostalgia, to remember people without placing them on pedestals, to learn, question, reclaim and grow, both from their insights as well as shortcomings. As Eduardo Galeano suggests, we have to “search for the keys in the past history to explain our time”, particularly listen to the voices from our past even if they are contradictory to reflect upon the conflict and violence that is consuming our world. This painting highlights the importance of remembering certain individuals and their vision before the right consigns them into oblivion.
Ritesh Meshram has harked back to the simpler ethos of being homeward bound. With heavy rusted metal, attractive to Meshram due to its material nature and the sound, he has created mirror images of an eye, a hammer and a hut. He feels that they evoke the feeling of being easily held in one’s palm and setting out on a walk down the street, but also, kept together, they are engaged in deep conversation and discord which is Meshram’s reflection of contemporary society ingrained with contentious social and political issues.
Her decade long research inspired by the idea of protection for the female form, the Terracotta Army, and the contemporary societal set up, has led Shakuntala Kulkarni to create a multimedia exploration. She learnt the craft of cane making to make the the armour she adorns while being digitally recorded through the lanes of Mumbai and as part of her film Julus. Deconstructed into these pedestals here, these cane sculptures now carry the embedded memory of having been part of her journey as a zen warrior traversing and reclaiming an important narrative of history.