A tryst with geometry
The geometrical structure of a beehive may seem robust on the outside, but is fragile and buzzing with life inside. This connection between structure and geometry, and its interplay with life, is the premise of Delhi-based artist Richa Navani's latest exhibition at the Indo-French cultural centre Alliance Française de Delhi.
For the artist, who is showcasing over 50 of her works in the exhibition titled 'Inhabited Geometries', the beehive has been a leitmotif that dominates her oeuvre. Containing the sensuality of the forms of phallus and a female torso, and rawness of a beehive, her bee-series draws fundamental comparisons between a beehive and the human body, and the soul it houses.
"A beehive seems very strong and architectonic, but at the same time it is so delicate that in harsh weather, it completely falls down to the ground. It's scattered forms again, but bees get at it again. Humans can get just as devastated by what goes in life, but we collect ourselves, and reinvent," says Richa Navani, who holds a PhD in fine arts from Delhi University, and a masters in fine arts from Jamia Millia Islamia.
She adds that her work on geometric abstract symbols started with her research on the appropriation of sacred symbols in India contemporary art.
The artist has also been a resident artist at French institutions like Saline Royale d'Arc-et-Senans, Camac Centre d'Art and Musée-atelier Yvonne Guégan - and is the third artist-in-focus in the Alliance Française's 'Back To France' series that promotes Indian artists with a French connection.
Navani's work cuts across space, and shows her viewers a glimpse of her village in Uttarakhand - as the poignant video installation of a 'chakhuli' (sparrow) whose nest was taken away by modernity – as well as of her travels in France. The show presents the abstract geometric forms that inhabit her work, meaningfully layered within the worlds of natural, sacred and architectonic.
Drawing inspiration from the Indian philosophy of five cosmic elements or 'panch bhoota' that compose everything, the painter-sculptor and new media artist also underlines the influence of her French artist residencies on her work.
"The architectonic citations in the works...are culled from Navani's travels across Europe, with a significant number hailing from France, on the basis of the strength of the affective encounter that these engendered," show curator Adwait Singh notes.
Her work 'Mapping the water' series is the documentation of a negotiation between river and land.
According to the Alliance Française director Jean Francois Ramon, by discovering the works of Navani and by appropriating them, her viewers will find matter to reflect, to refine one's look on the world and to enrich one's sensitive experience.
The exhibition which was inaugurated by poet and Raza Foundation Managing Trustee Ashok Vajpeyi on November 8,, is on public view till November 25 at the Galerie Romain Rolland
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