Saturday, July 31, 2010

MisReading by a Gallerist


(Abhay Maskara)

With a lot of amusement I read a blog post by Abhay Maskara. For the beginners, Abhay Maskara is the director of Maskara Gallery, 3rd Pasta Lane, Colaba, Mumbai. It is one of those rare galleries in India that has a high ceiling and totally an unconventional space. Recently it was at the verge of a closure. Abhay, in one of his interviews in a reputed newspaper (the Times of India Crest) said that had it not been the help of some foreign collectors, he would have closed his gallery long back.

Anyway, the issue here is different. Abhay does not like my ‘takes’ on his gallery and its ideology in my article titled ‘Art, Ideology and Galleries’ in Take on Art Magazine (Vol I, Issue 2, 2010) edited by Bhavna Kakkar. Abhay speaks for himself (and against my takes) in his personal blog, which surprisingly does not have a provision to publish ‘comments’. So what I understand is that he does not want a ‘dialogue’. He wants to convince those people who are ready to be ‘convinced’ by his arguments.

At the outset of his article, Abhay says, ‘Ordinarily I would have chosen not to respond to such rash and baseless remarks but JML has trivialized our efforts as a gallery thus far and raised questions about our motive, intent and funding. Not to mention the alleged misguidance to curators, collectors and artists.’ Interestingly, he titles his article, ‘MisTake on Art.’ Hence, I would like to call my article, ‘MisReading by a Gallerist’.

Those who have gone through my article in Take on Art Magazine, know it for sure that my idea was not to implicate any particular gallery or person. My intention was/is to delineate the ideological maneuverings that take place consciously, sub-consciously and automatically within the gallery and museum structures. I could not have done it without citing certain examples, even when I know that by doing this I would be making enemies out of friends and strong enemies out of already existing enemies. Theorizing of a context and process cannot be done without examples that are strong and glaring, even if that incur disappointments and disagreements.

You may notice, the play of the subjective ‘I’ and the collective ‘We’ coming up again and again in Abhay’s accusations leveled against me. By collapsing the subjective I with the collective ‘we’, he deliberately obscures the role of the players behind his gallery. As he argues on, Abhay makes it clear that he is the sole decision maker of his gallery (so I need not worry about critics and curators) and in the same breath he talks about ‘We’ enjoying the goodwill of the collectors.

If you read between lines, you will come to know how this collapsing of I into We or vice versa helps Abhay to hide his ‘ideology’ (for details on ideology, refer my article in Take on Art). In Abhay’s article, which could be termed as a pack of contradictions, he laments how I am oblivious of his personal sacrifices by putting even the last penny from his savings to support the kind of art he believes in. The next moment, he comes up with ‘We’, saying that this ‘we’ recognize the fact that the market would take time to understand the art, which Maskara is trying to promote. At times, he says that there is no market of his kind of art (read TOI interview). At times, he complaints that my article is an effort to ‘negate the goodwill we enjoy with out collectors and community at large’. How can you have no takers and enjoy the good will of collectors at the same time? Who are this ‘We’ that Abhay is talking about?

It is in this ‘We’ that my article focuses on vis-à-vis ideological functioning of galleries, which Abhay does not understand at all. It is good that Venkanna T and Shine Sivan are going places through the efforts of Maskara Gallery. But Abhay demands that I should be talking to his artists to know their current status. Sorry Abhay. I am a cultural observer and a critic, who uses his observations to see culture as critique and critique as culture. I am not a journalist (many former journalists are fast turning into curators these days) and you cannot expect me to run around your artists and ask for their whereabouts. However, I am happy to know that your artists are doing quite well.

But I don’t understand this statement of yours in the TOI on 3rd July. “The situation became dire when six of our last shows went without a single work selling to any local buyer.” Either you are telling a lie or you are just trying to play a double game, exactly the way you are collapsing ‘I’ and ‘We’ in your statements.

Now you accusing me of having no grasp on ‘the commercial aspects of the gallery’. As an art critic and curator, it is not my job to know the commercial aspects of the galleries (the case is different when I am working within a gallery and functions as an institutional curator I am supposed to handle the funding aspects). That does not mean that I am completely unaware of what is happening in the financial front. If you had any grasp on the commercial aspects of a gallery, I don’t think you would have spent even the last penny from your pocket to support your kind of ‘art’. Who would fritter away his life savings to support art during these days of late or post capitalism? If you are agreeing with the capitalist market theories, you have made a fool out of yourself. Or if you are an anarchist and a rebel, then don’t complain that you spent your money to support art.

You quote Rekha Rodwittiya in order to endorse Shine Sivan’s show ‘Sperm Weaver’ at your gallery. Rekha is a good friend and I read all her articles. They are emotionally charged, highly subjective and she never minces her words. She writes what she feels. So if you think that her words replaces all the critical voices from Indian contemporary art scene, I would say that when she forwards critique that also should be taken in the right earnest, which I don’t think any gallerist would do. The moment Rekha becomes critical, suddenly she becomes a woman, a Sakshi artist, a modernist etc etc. Come on Abhay, I have been around for the last two decades.

Now Abhay says,’I will end by restating that the role of a gallery is not simply to cater to an existing market but to create new markets. My job as Curatorial Director is not simply to sell what is easy or fashionable but also to propose what is not easy to understand or consume. It is a great responsibility and one that we take with utmost pride and seriousness.’ If you look at Abhay’s blog you will come to know that this young aspirant gallerist has been looking ‘only’ at the mainstream market till a few a years back. Just check out his blog archives. It starts in 2006 and Abhay’s whole interest is in where Souzas, Razas, Ramkumars and so on are bought or sold or auctioned. Even ten to fifteen years before from the beginning of Abhay’s blog, in Delhi I was working with the Venkannas and Shine Sivans of that time who are huge names today. Any doubt? And tell me where were you then, Abhay?

The same Abhay who tells me that I need not worry about my contemporary curators and critics, thereby proving himself to be an absolutely private entrepreneur finally wants to get endorsement from the public (he has asked the readers to write to him if they have any questions on the funding tactics etc). Why do you need endorsement from the public, Abhay?

I stand by my statement, ‘Unless these galleries prove themselves to be commercially viable, through ideological manipulations they would be misguiding a set of artists, curators, collectors and son on towards a no win situation, where ultimately the artist are left to suffer alone.’ I can give you at least twenty five examples of those artists who were the darlings of the galleries and curators at some point of time. Anders Petterson had once observed that a selection of auction catalogues from the last ten years would tell you that majority of the artists featured in those catalogues are no more active (means, they are not in the scene or have fallen out of grace from the system).

I would like to quote Nancy Adajania from her article, ‘Probing the Khojness of Khoj’ (The Khoj Book- 1997-2007- Contemporary art practice in India. Editor. Pooja Sood): “If ours is to be a healthy art world, expressive activity must proceed in dialogue with discursive activity, and not with antagonism towards it……It must therefore also recognize that the work of the critic is a related but independent project of research and inquiry; that the critic is the artist’s fellow contributor and collaborator in the production of culture.”

Any clue, Abhay? I want to take this as a dialogue because who knows tomorrow we don’t work together in a project!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Taandav- An Impermanent Installation by Vaibhav Sharma

After Shine Sivan (Maskara Gallery fame), Faridabad (Haryana) seems to have more to offer. With the new flyover and a metro network to Badarpur Border (Delhi-Haryana border) becoming operational by September (2010) end, gallerists can hop into the studios of Faridabad based artists without complaining much about the horrible traffic jams at the Badarpur Border. Remember, Apeejay Media Center, Delhi’s pioneering center for new media art had to re-think on its strategies and had to almost down its shutters thanks to the snail pace of traffic in this area.

In the Faridabad based young artist, Vaibhav Sharma, you may find the potential of a new star. Vaibhav is a trained sculptor, who also has interests in digital photography (prints), conceptual assemblages and ‘art povera’ style installations. He comes to me as a surprise as he had been my student at the Rai University (Fine Arts Department- interestingly located at the Badarpur Border) during 2003-2004. Vaibhav was quite unassuming then but the kind of sensitivity and at times aggression that he shows in his works today keep me quite amused.

My effort here is to introduce a very sensitive impermanent piece of installation (in the art povera mode) done by Vaibhav Sharma. He calls it ‘Taandav’. The word connotes, as all of us know, the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. The Chola sculptures show the perfection of Taandav. It is said that when Rodin spent many hours before the Nataraja sculpture at the Madras Museum, the authorities got suspicious of his presence and questioned him to know about his ‘overt curiosity’. The golden equation is palpable in Taandava.

(Taandav, Installation at Terrace, by Vaibhav Sharma)
For Vaibhav Sharma, it is not the golden equation that attracts him to the idea of Taandava. Instead, he is drawn to it for its destructive power, the idea of destruction, which could eventually pave way for a new creation.
(Nataraja, Chola Bronze)
On the terrace of his house, Vaibhav makes a ‘structure’ out of the dried branches of a guava tree. He paints it red later and at the conjoining part of stems he places a piece of an artificial leopard skin. To suggest the base, with the crushed paper balls, Vaibhav creates cosmic ring, which seems to move clockwise.

(Taandav, a view of the installation)

Vaibhav recalls what inspired him to this work. There was a guava tree behind his house. In those good old days, Faridabad had so many trees. The guava tree used to yield juicy fruits every year. Squirrels and birds were the permanent dwellers there, along with the children from the neighborhood. Recently, the guava tree died. Vaibhav’s father told him that it is time to cut it and clear the place. Vaibhav collected the branches and scales from the tree and thought of doing a work that would suggest the cosmic cycle of birth, existence and death and its endless repetitions. Once the work was done at his terrace, as a private affair to mourn the death of a close ‘friend’, he left it there to disintegrate in its own way.

(Another view from up)

There was a time when art critics looked at a new artist’s work for his/his ‘influences’. But today, I don’t think any critic would impinge on artist’s freedom in that department. With the proliferation of information technology, influences are aplenty, and it is laudable to an extent till it becomes blind copies as in somebody’s digital photography work turning into a sculpture by someone else.

I am more pleased to look at a work of art when it triggers a sort of visual thinking in me. A sculpture/installation could be viewed from different angles and each angle gives you a different feel about the work, evoking strong possible art historical affiliations that help you to see the artist in question as an intelligent person with a complete hold, which could be conscious or sub-conscious, on his art.

‘Taandav’ from this angle tells me something about the ‘Mill Call’ by Ram Kinkar Baij.

(Mill Call by Ram Kinker Baij)

And from this, it shows me how it shows the strong dynamics of this social realist sculpture from SovietUnion.

(A social realist sculpture from Soviet Union)

From this, you may see it as a work with Giacometti’s attitude.

(Sculpture by Giacometti)

(Dog by Giacometti)

Or even K.S.Radhakrishnan’s ‘Chandela Rider’.

(KS Radhakrishnan's Chandeal Rider)

At times, he adopts props and images from his own work.

(Mr.Original, an assemblage by Vaibhav Sharma- Mark the artificial leopard skin)

Then the work slowly vanishes, leaving the traces behind. Then one day that too is gone.

(disintegration of Taandav)

I never thought Faridabad has too many sights like this.

(Digital works by Vaibhav Sharma)

For those who want to see more works by Vaibhav Sharma, some are here.

(Evolution, sculptural installation by Vaibhav Sharma)

(Mutation, sculpture by Vaibhav Sharma)

(Zoom in, Sculpture by Vaibhav Sharma)

(Good Morning, Sculpture by Vaibhav Sharma)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Evolution of Revolution

You know why I hate revolutionaries?

Asked my friend, while sipping

A dollar worth coffee

Inside an air-cooled café.

Dumb that I am, watching at the

Silent charade of the quotidian

Out there in the street,

I said, ‘No, I don’t know.’

“They wear revolutionary bathroom slippers,

They wear revolutionary souls

They flaunt revolutionary arm pits

They vibrate revolutionary epiglottis

They show off revolutionary tattoos

And they swear by revolution.

When it gets hotter, they leave

The poor revolution back in the streets

And book cheap tickets to cooler climes.

That’s why I believe the real revolution

Would happen inside those stuffy vehicles

That ferry sleepy morons between

Call centers and their masturbating hideouts.

They will one day rise against the machines that

Throw hollow commands at them.

Together, they will shoot down these

Pacifist asses, who fornicate in

Hopeless hostels and soulless homes,

In the name of revolution,” he fumed.

‘Who funds this coffee?’ I asked

“My dad who runs a call center.”

While walking back to my nothingness,

Revolution pulled at my trousers

And begged for a coin.

(Iqbal MK, a Kochi based photographer clicked a picture of Che bathroom slippers on display at shop window in Kerala. This piece of writing is inspired by this picture)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Did He Really Cut It?

Did he really cut it?

For love or warmth?
He wanted eternal Sorrow.
He wanted eternal victimhood.
Then those who monetized him
Wanted the same from him.
A lot became like him,
Only because they wanted-
They wanted them to be so.


Friday, July 23, 2010

One Way of Reading Priyanka Govil’s Drawings

"In the same way that there is a human act of dismembering the past there is a natural process in the terrain through erosion, growth, dilapidation that also seeks to blot out events.”- William Kentridge.

There is something similar between Priyanka Govil and William Kentridge, the illustrious South African artist and animator. Both Kentridge and Priyanka think about an eroding past and blotting of events occurred during the past by active external agencies. Kentridge politicizes them through his charcoal drawings and animations.

Priyanka Govil does not deliberately politicizes her past, but there are hints, suggestions and pointers in her that what she intends subconsciously is the politicization of events through surrogate images; the images of earth, which is vandalized, raped, claimed and subjected, the a way a woman is subjected to (male) laws of war and territorialization.

To achieve this political edge both Kentridge and Priyanka uses charcoal as a medium and drawing, a method.

(Work by William Kentridge)

(Work by Priyanka Govil)

I have not yet introduced Priyanka Govil as a person. While looking at the smile on your lips (that has resulted from the comparison between a legend like Kentridge and a possible novice like Priyanka), I realize that it is high time to introduce her.

Here she is. Priyanka Govil. She is a fresh post graduate from the Department of Painting, MS University, Baroda. She is the recipient of Inlaks India Award (2010).

(Priyanka Govil)

And this is one of the ways she represents herself in her FB profile. Here you see Priyanka Govil walking towards sea at the flat shore of Dandi, South Gujarat.

(Priyanka Govil at Dandi Beach)

If you take any of her works and see the vastness of space that she has created in them, you would understand why she chooses such a picture to represent her. Our choices are pre-determined by our nascent philosophies and aesthetics.

(Painting by Priyanka Govil)

I think about the violent incident of Babri Masjid demolition by the fundamentalist forces in India. It happened in Ayodhya, UP on 6th December 1992. Priyanka was hardly seven years old then. So I cannot say that she had grasped the intensity of the incident. But she grew up listening to the stories of this demolition and how the present order of things overlap the memories of this tragic event and ‘dismember that violent past’

(News Photograph of Babri Masjid demolition on 6th December 1992)

(Work by Priyanka Govil)

(Like many other I too asked her whether she any way related to Arun Govil, the actor who played Rama in the tele serial Ramayana, which had in a way helped to re-organize the extreme Hindu sentiments in India. She belongs to the same clan, but not related to Arun Govil)

(Arun Govil as Rama in Ramayana tele seriel)

During the growing up years, Priyanka watched micro versions of such vandalizing around her in the form of de-forestation. People were cutting down trees, encroaching farm lands and converting everything into real estate. When a new building complex comes up, the history and memory of a farm land is lost.

Priyanka’s effort in her works is to speak up against this naturalization of the obfuscation of history and memory. So she draws landscapes using charcoal and color, as if she were caught in frenzy.

(Painting by Priyanka Govil)

(work by Priyanka Govil)

I don’t know whether she is to be called an ‘environmental artist’. But I prefer to call her an artist who uses environment as a persisting imagery in order to address the issues pertaining to the dismembering of past/history and memory.

Her works are not just about ‘landscape painting. Priyanka goes beyond as she shows her grip and knowledge in the various factors of agriculture and farm lands. Her works move beyond the romantic portrayal of the places that she likes/liked. Priyanka repeats them like a question and she repeats it because she does not get an answer to it always. Vandalism is on in various ways, erasing the old with the inscriptions of the new.

(detail from Priyanka Govil's work)

(work by Priyanka Govil)

(a farm land tilled and seeded)

I find a curious affinity between Priyanka’s drawings and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970). Please don’t mistake me. I am not saying that Priyanka’s works are as ambitious as Smithson’s. What I find interesting is the concentric (circular) nature of their thinking, which gets reflected in their works.

(Drawing by Priyanka Govil)

(Work by Priyanka Govil)

They perceive history as a cyclical phenomenon. What goes around has to come around. But it is not a fatalistic or pessimistic or even optimistic view. This sense of history anticipates and asserts the human endeavor to learn from the past and progress towards the future. Even when contemporary art negates history of having a hold on its meanderings, conceptual art always thrives on history through its ability to re-think hypothetical orders (concepts and notions) and re-formulate them in novel ways.

(Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson)

I deliberately choose a black and white picture of Spiral Jetty here and also the image captures the present state of this monumental earth art. Currently, it is in a decaying process as the vandalism of (art) tourists is beyond control.

There is a strong sense of performance in Priyanka’s works. Though she does not make it very clear through any picture, I believe there is a lot of action involved in her works.

Here I try to see her massive charcoal drawing and it’s making process side by side with the famous photograph of Jackson Pollock doing one of his action painting, taken by Hans Namuth, the German photographer.

(Jackson Pollock in action, by Hans Namuth)

The presence of Pollock in the picture and the ‘captured’ action are ‘absent’ in this photograph of Priyanka’s drawing with charcoal. But the very absence seems to say a lot of about her presence and the action involved in the making of this work. The close up (detail) would tell you more about the performative nature of Priyanka’s works.

(the performative drawing by Priyanka Govil)

(detail of the huge charcoal drawing)

In her struggle against oblivion of history, Priyanka places herself in the centre, where everything converges as in a whirlpool. And she says, “Everything is revolving into me as a center where I am doing and aesthetically experiencing the process and the medium to have the stream of works to lead my destiny”.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ready for a Four-some (show)? Visit Latitude 28, New Delhi

(Installation view at Latitude 28)

Economic recession seems to have made some difference in the mindset of the Baroda Fine Arts graduates and post graduates. During the boom time, most of the final year students looked savvy with their ‘gallery ready’ works. Like locusts that attack ripe fields, the gallerists from all over India used to flock at this institution during the boom time. The practice was akin to the corporate houses doing campus recruitment. The story was different in 2009; it was Beckett-ian in all sense.

However, the Vladimirs and Estragons from this batch kept their hope alive. Some of them got into residency programs for alternative and experimental art and some of them sought their luck in other fields. When the mainstream market does not flirt with your works, resentment is a natural outcome. Still, resentment cannot be the sole reason for someone to get into an alternative practice. These days, young artists are trying their best to transcend their mediums. They step over the stringent guidelines provided by the academic syllabus and dare to go beyond the limitations of the mediums.

These four young guys, namely Siddhartha Kararwal, Nityanand Ojha, Deepjyoti Kalita and Kartik Sood, brought under the common frame of a group show titled, ‘Urban Testimonies’ at the Latitude 28 Gallery, New Delhi tell us the story of their efforts to look at their respective mediums and push the boundaries to interesting limits and beyond. Also the show tells us that early birds catch more worms than the late ones. Bhavna Kakkar, director of Latitude 28 has proven her early bird status through this show. I don’t intend to call the artists worms. But an adage is an adage is an adage.

(Work by Kartik Sood)

One cannot but be impressed by the work of Kartik Sood titled ‘Touch’, which, according to the artist is an effort to make a triptych painting in a sculptural form, with video as a main component. Kartik speaks in mono syllables. He reminds one of the singer Prince and the mumbling makes you look for a Warhol in him.

‘Touch’ shows three old television monitors erected on black stands as if they were shrouded coffins made to stand vertical. The videos (same images run in three different time scales) play in these monitors are some enacted death rituals, which has some autobiographical connotations. The second tier of the stands has perfume bottles silently standing. Smell is a suggestion here, which could be read along with birth or death or even the daily sweating called life.

Like Warhol loves Basquiat, Kartik has a love for low life. He has been collecting photographs of people from lowly terrains of life, from all over the country. In ‘Plucking the Heart Strings’ we have a few backlit photographs out of them. They flicker in between reminding the viewer of their existence amongst us. In ‘Closer’ Kartik shows his painterly skills by minutely drawing the pictures of some street kids and objects related to their lives behind some pieces of rags. Customized glasses as frames project textures on the slits, images and the rags to make these works a sort of miniatures that need ‘closer’ look.

(Work by Nityananda Ojha)

The artist has a hesitation to commit himself to the images/objects/incidents that he chooses to project in his works. Kartik is not the only one in this case. For many contemporary artists, this hesitation is a route to negotiate and escape. Nityananda Ojha, however does not escape from his commitment to the images. He lives in a world of imaginary narratives, narrated in the most stereotypical ways. He selects innumerable stills from Odia films (films from Orissa) and creates a backdrop against which he mounts prisms made out of hologram glasses. The spectacular-ness of the third dimension established through hologram glasses in a way suggests the illusionary nature of these narratives and points out the ways in which the viewer/participant falls prey to such illusions.

(works by Nityananda Ojha)

However, what makes Nityananda Ojha’s works memorable is the stark representation of desire and its aftermath in sculptural forms. The sculptures have their surfaces made of imitation ornaments welded together in layers. The hanged human figure in a way tells us the story of avarice and its aftermath. The man himself is so alluring and repulsive at the same time in his body as the hanged body suggests both celebration and rotting. The lit femur that he hold in his hand shows his primitiveness as a hunter; a hunter in the jungle of desires. And the other work by Nityananda titled ‘Masturbation’, has a similarly decorated right hand projecting out from the wall with a phallic glass object jutting out his clutch. Masturbation is a sort of self-indulgence, a sort of narcissistic act, which perhaps makes the artist alone in his pursuit. It does look like more of a portrait than an emblematic sculpture. Similarly, his ‘bone curtain’ too emphasizes human avarice and a sort of ‘memento mori’ that reflects the viewers mortal self in fragments.

(Whackass by Siddhartha Kararwal)

Siddhartha Kararwal, hailing from Jaipur has a little bit of Paul Macarthy in him. I am not inclined to put each artist into the compartment of a western counterpart. Instead, my idea is to see how these artists have some sort of affinity with the western conceptual artists of the 1970s. In his work titled, ‘Whack Ass’ (of Whackass), Siddhartha brings forth a series of framed photographs taken out of his performance done in Baroda as a part of a public performance. Whacking the Horse is a saying that suggests drumming up dead issues. Here he converts the Horse into a Donkey. With a fellow artist (Prayas Abhinav), he takes the stuffed doll of a donkey (made out of coarse blanket clothes and cotton) around the city on a push cart. And the artists too are dressed up as clowns in the same clothes. The backgrounds are edited out of these frames to make them suggestive than narrative.

(You can't Please All by Siddhartha Kararwal)

Donkey theme continues in Siddhartha’s sculptural installation titled ‘You Can’t Please All’. The title reminds you of the folk story and the famous work by late Bhupen Khakkar. Siddhartha also takes off from there to create a heap of carcasses of donkeys (a la a Eugine Delacroix painting). The imagery is eerie and inviting. It suggests a dirt heap and a crumbled Guernica. If you have eyes you can see it. Siddhartha is successful in extending the possibility of his mediums, from the concreteness of ‘a’ sculpture it moves to inflatable to garbage to soft sculptures. Siddhartha’s enquiries take him to create a set of photographs in which an astronaut is seen with a vagabond (rag picker). He calls it Kalki series. Is it done for the sake of having a set of digital photography works? Or he wants to explore more into the idea of ‘apocalypse’ manifested through the notion of Kalki in Indian mythology?

(Decode by Deepjyoti Kalita)

Deepjyoti Kalita from Assam is also a sculptor who attempts to push the boundaries of traditional sculpture. While Kartik pushes his paintings into the realm of sculpture, Deepjyoti pushes his sculptures into the realm of painting. In his work titled ‘Decode’, a set of two dimensional images are kept inside a three dimensional box frame, while a cut out image of the artist moves between the other two images in regular intervals. Light, movement, color and object are employed in this work enquiring the possibilities of video, kinetic art, painting and sculptural installation in one go. Here Deepjyoti seems to be an existential man who is unable to decide upon the choices he is given with. He is given a typewriter, still unable to use it. He is masked to hide his identity, still he is not able to move away from him.

(work by Deepjyoti Kalita)

In his other sculptural installation too, Deepjyoti tries out the possibilities of all aforementioned art forms but it is more Foucauldian in approach. In one frame a man seen sitting on a column, the LED monitor then says, ‘Take a Bath’. Then the light Changes and the LED says ‘Now Dry up’. Then man is seen taking a headlong plunge into a water-body and the LED says ‘Bring a Cloud’. The total meaning shift between the sign and the signified, the act of signification happens as an absurd but curious act, and it opens up the possibility to see even the materials used also do not stick to their materiality and become something else in the process.

These four artists show the potential of lasting long. But it all depends on their engagement with art as a serious activity rather than a passport to fame and fortune. Those used it for materials gains only during the boom time, unfortunately are not around to tell the stories. And their absence itself should be a lesson to these youngsters and the sparks of intelligence shown in this exhibition should be kindled into a fire in the coming days.

PS: I don’t understand the title, ‘Urban Testimonials’. I don’t understand a word in the press release. Suruchi Khubchandani is a wonderful young writer. But she need to take extreme care of her articulations. The notes for this one written by her seem to be a bit convoluted.