10 artists in search of their roots
For these artists, it is definitely a home-coming with a difference. As just-back-from-London Radhika’s (recently graduated from Goldsmiths University and finished her solo exhibit at Kristin Hjellegjerde gallery, London) six- feet long drawing Sleepwalkers Collison depicts, it is the complex of emotions and the experience of living and in and out of new cities and cultures away from her roots (in Kolkata) that makes her works thought-provoking. Nine more artists have also projected similar experiences through new drawings.
‘Kolkata almost feels like a new city existing on an old map, with the unfamiliar dominating the familiar. The city is perhaps trying to emulate faster metros like Mumbai and Delhi but Kolkata still has her soul in place’, Agarwala told Millennium Post, taking us through all 19 works on display for the show Mapping Detours, being held at the Chitrakoot art gallery in upmarket South Kolkata.
Interestingly, all 10 artists, including Agarwala, met during their studies, residencies and exhibitions across the globe to create Mapping Detours, a show which will travel to New Delhi and Mumbai by the end of this year.
The show exhibits fresh drawings by artists like Viraag Desai from Kolkata, Éva Magyarósi from Hungary, Garima Thakur from Portland, Mathew Tom from Chicago, Cristina Molina from Miami, Sabrina Osborne and Lisa Selby from London, Sareena Khemka and Motoushi Chakraborty from the rest of India. Encouraged by response here, 29-year-old Agarwala plans to take the show to the Vadehra art gallery in New Delhi.
One goes back to look at Agarwala’s striking Sleepwalker’s Collision for the message. The artist has created intricate lines in graphite crawling in from different directions that remind us of a topographical mapping system in which hybrid vultures, swans, owls, and other creatures are caught, jostling together.
A cinematic light evokes a dramatic landscape. A diptych, Afternoon and Night Flurry - again showing slightly battered bird - somehow reminds one of a doubt-ridden home-coming.
The artist tells us that she may have been influenced by Freud’s Beyond The Pleasure Principle, which deals with the two sides of humanity - life and death. Price point: in the region of Rs 1.25 lakh.
Though his work Anatomical Study, Viraag Desai, another artist from Kolkata, reconnects with the city after years of studying in the US. By depicting chaotic arrangements of flora and fauna, diagrams from various scientific scenes, the diptych shows nature colliding with structures of science, merging within an architectural forest.
‘I was also looking out of my window after returning home in Kolkata and I took several photographs of the place. My home is surrounded by idyllic forests and that set me thinking’, said Viraag, who is getting prepared for his next show in China. Desai’s work is priced around Rs 50,000.
For Mapping Detours, all the artists were asked to create a new piece of work and the common ground was the medium which is 'paper'.
The artists have treated drawing as the fundamental starting point and have experimented with traditional materials such as charcoal,graphite, pencil and collage.
Also, they are continuously questioning the role of drawings in contemporary art and looking for a new idiom in these works.