Saturday, May 21, 2011
The Guild is delighted to present Matters Under the Skin, the first solo of Rakhi Peswani in Hongkong at Art HK 2011 – Asia One.
Matters Under the Skin is an ongoing project that investigates the lived experiences of a subject that is involved with the processes of creation. By amalgamating various vocabularies- visual, verbal, material and spatial; the work takes shape as a nuanced and layered communication of a language that reveals the ‘hidden’ dimensions of the human body. Body, in this sense, is seen from within, as against its representational mode of being seen and shown from the outside.
The body, here, is perceived as a site of infinite manipulations; both, from within its own machinery and from the outside. It is distinguished as a site of effects that constantly build the physiological and psychological internals...
The discovery, understanding and articulation of these effects are shaped through the practices of manual crafts. In this sense, the process/craft takes a literal centrality through which the causes and effects of the body are brought to existence. The inherent contradictions and conflicts of an individual are untangled in a Gandhian manner, through manual processes.
These manual processes are a consequence of direct manifestations of bodily gestures. Sometimes these bodily gestures are also seen as the first step to understand the technique of the craft itself; of graphic drawing, hand embroidery, sewing etc.
In this sense, this layering is seen as a practice that perpetuates the literary or creative capacities of the body. Almost in a Foucauldian vein, work, or the creation of ‘fiction’, is seen as a possibility of “not showing the invisible, but in showing the extent to which the invisibility of the visible is invisible”.
Thus making (or writing) ‘fiction’ is understood as an important activity to voice the inherent ‘matters under the skin’...
The works, thus, are an attempt to physically realise various mental images. To extract these images out for re-presentation, they are articulated as two dimensional, horizontal surfaces, almost replicating manuscript illuminations or early book illustrations. They have been reduced from their narrative form; embedded onto the physicality of the architectural surface and brought within the corners of physical spaces that the body inhabits. – Rakhi Peswani
For Rakhi the expanse between what we see and what we touch and respond to has only increased with the passage of modernity. The unified body has been fragmented into inert zones of perception. This experience of fragmentation has structured her focus to the processes of traditional crafts; allowing her to re-route the notion of oneself through the language of these processes. Peswani’s point of departure is to locate a visual / verbal / tangible language that blends the local character of our system and the global character of verbal language. She further layers this juxtaposition with the inclusion of verbal text, fabricating discreet ironies within the material processes to depict contemporary identities.
Rakhi Peswani is a recipient of Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art’s Emerging Artist Award and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in painting and Master’s degree in sculpture from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M. S. U, Vadodara. Peswani’s solos include Intertwinings, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2009;Sonnet for Silent Machines, at Jehangir Nicholson Gallery & The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2007. Selected group shows include Bring Me A Lion: An Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art, The Hunt Gallery, St.Louis, Missouri(2010).
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Curated by Maya Kóvskaya
April 30- May 28, 2011
Preview: Friday April 29, 7 pm - 9 pm
Ashutosh Bhardwaj Sheba Chhachhi Han Bing Tushar Joag Prajakta Potnis Wu Gaozhong
The Guild is pleased to announce the forthcoming opening of the EXCRESCENCE exhibition. Curated by Beijing and Delhi-based critic and curator, Maya Kóvskaya, PhD, and featuring a multidisciplinary array of works by Indian and Chinese artists. Ashutosh Bhardwaj(painting), Sheba Chhachhi (interactive video), Rohini Devasher (video and photography), HAN Bing (photography), Tushar Joag (drawing, and installation), Prajakta Potnis (photography and site-specific installation) and WU Gaozhong (drawing and photography), the exhibition explores the concept of “excrescence” as a dominant framing device for understanding the seemingly out-of-control processes of growth and change that pervade our contemporary world.
The rhetoric of our times is permeated by thinking that invokes what are sometimes called "hand-of-God" variables (such as the "invisible hand of the market," or the idea that new processes take off, spread and then "go viral,” morphing and spreading beyond our control). These hegemonic tropes invisibly frame our understandings of many aspects of our changing world. Notions about these seemingly autonomous processes have proliferated in the popular consciousness and vocabularies of our times and are often framed with metaphors of viral growth, genetic engineering, mutation, metastasis and cancer, pervasive toxicity and inexorable degenerative processes. It is towards this dominant mode of thinking that the Excrescence exhibition directs its gaze and attention.
What is especially noteworthy is the way such framing devices for thinking about the workings of our world often take various valences that perform a kind of conceptual sleight of hand that both explains, amplifies and augments the widespread feeling of being without agency. In such a light, our world appears to be largely "out of control" and governed by huge, vast processes that are far more powerful than human design, or beyond the scope of human action.
20th century philosopher Hannah Arendt discusses this problem extensively, for she believes that the widespread sense of alienation from our own agency comes in part from the consequences of thinking of the world as shaped by such putatively autonomous processes that are governed by an inexorable internal logic (like capitalism, or various economic cycles, "viral" cultural transmission, etc) that seems to sweep away our ability to exert control over our world, our lives, and at times, even our minds. She refers to this conceptual trap in terms such as "autonomy of the process," and she rightly identifies it as a fiction. It is a powerful fiction, however, that has become (and has been for quite some time) a core strand woven into the dominant narratives of contemporary political, economic, cultural and social life of our time--the idea that there are "forces out there" that push and pull us this way and that and are essentially are beyond our control.
In Excrescence, the works shown come at this set of issues from a variety of angles, either meditating on, or reflecting, instantiating, or performatively embodying; either critiquing or deconstructing some of the metaphorical leitmotifs of this mode of thinking and the coded cultural memes and signifiers of these kinds of anxieties: viral spread, cancerous metastasis, uncontrollable (unpredictable) mutation, invasive toxicity, inexorable processes of excrescent, degenerative growth, and so forth, asking us to consider the way these optics shape our own gazes and transform the ways we see ourselves and the workings of the world we participate in making through our speech, actions and practices of everyday life."
TEXT by Maya Kóvskaya, PhD
www.mayakovskaya.com (launching soon)
PUJA VAISH's text on the work of Ashutosh Bhardwaj.
"If a ‘wonderland’ can be described as a marvelous imaginary realm or place, the painting titled ‘Spoon-fed Wonderland’ aims to explore the construction of this imagination. This exploration is driven by certain assumptions: That every imagination is contextual within its culture and location. Also, that the larger ‘ideal’ vision of agencies such as the state and the media have a bearing on individual aspirations.
The painting devises a hovering space of a highly patterned chessboard hinting to preordained destiny or chances. This puts in question the fate of the little boy’s(in the centre of the work) self-discovery. Clichéd ideas of the masculine body are projected before him on the two castle pieces in the foreground. Far in the distance are a set of ambiguous images, all satisfying some expression of masculine symbolism: a large phallic sword like object looms behind a temple-like structure which enshrines a muted silhouette of a man caught in the act of self-pleasure through masturbation."
text by Puja Vaish
an abnormal outgrowth; abnormal growth or increase; a normal outgrowth, as hair or horns; any disfiguring addition.
"A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside of it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably." –Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
The Guild is pleased to present EXCRESCENCE, an exhibition curated by Beijing and Delhi-based critic and curator, Maya Kóvskaya, PhD, featuring a multidisciplinary array of works by Indian and Chinese artists previewing April 29, 2011. Featuring a multidisciplinary array of works by artists from India and China—Ashutosh Bhardwaj (painting), Sheba Chhachhi (interactive video installation), HAN Bing (photography), Tushar Joag (drawing and installation), Prajakta Potnis (photography and site-specific installation) and WU Gaozhong (photography), the exhibition explores the concept of ―excrescence‖ as an umbrella metaphor for the seemingly out-of-control processes of growth, change, disorder and degeneration that seem to pervade our contemporary world.
The rhetoric of our times is permeated by thinking that invokes what are sometimes called "hand-of-God" variables (such as the "invisible hand of the market," or the idea that new processes take off and then "go viral,‖ morphing and spreading beyond our control). These hegemonic tropes invisibly frame our understandings of our changing world. Notions about these seemingly autonomous processes have proliferated in the popular consciousness and vocabularies of our times and are often framed with metaphors of viral growth and infectious transmission, genetic mutation, metastasis and cancer, endemic toxicity, as well as inexorable, entropic disorder, degeneration and decay. It is towards this constellation of powerful, pervasive metaphors that the Excrescence exhibition directs its gaze and invites our attention.
The power of metaphor has been richly explored across the disciplines of the human sciences a glance across the breadth of this discourse will help contextualize the visual and conceptual explorations in the artworks shown in Excrescence. From the work of structuralist semiotician and literary theorist Roland Barthes, who analyzed the de-politicizing function of myth as metaphor for understanding both past and present; to path-breaking studies of the ―metaphors we live by‖ pioneered by cognitive scientist and linguist George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, who demonstrated that much of our thinking is unconsciously structured by metaphors that encode implicit sets of values and are so common and widely shared (such as metaphors of direction, e.g. ―up is good, down is bad,‖ ―forward is good, backward is bad‖ in English) that their workings often become invisible to us; from social critic Susan Sontag’s illuminating discussion of the ways in which two ―modern‖ ailments function as dominant social metaphors for the disorder and decay of our times, shaping our conceptions—we have seen the way in which our metaphorical discourses surrounding various phenomena serve as optics through which we make sense of larger social, political and economic processes we perceive as afflicting our contemporary world, with far-reaching ramifications.