Saturday, April 17, 2010

‘The Game’ of arranging objects to provoke spontaneous auguries

The protagonists of artist Ravi Kashi’s recent works at Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai are the Buddha, the body and also the drawers chest. They are all assembled to form ‘The Game’, each of which serves him as a screen for the disquietudes of self - a figure of contestation between transcendence and carnality, between unsettling revelations and archived sensations.

For years, he has been collecting seemingly interesting objects, sans any design. When he started placing them one next to the other, unexpected meanings emerged. This led to a process of exploration and expansion of the varied association of meanings. He then started photographing the various possible arrangements. A curatorial note by Ranjit Hoskote elaborates:
“The suite of works originates in the artist’s delight in arranging objects to provoke spontaneous auguries. At its core, ‘The Game’ articulates the gamble that is self-recognition: What is to be done with the hidden others one finds within oneself?”
In the latest show, he presents two suites of photo images, namely ‘Engaging Buddha’ and ‘Meeting in Darkness’, along with a timed video sequence. In ‘Chest of Secrets’ the artist gradually discloses the hidden pattern of secret obsessions that lies beneath the unruffled surface routines of normality.

On the other hand, in ‘Engaging Buddha’he unpacks a series of contraries usually fused under pressure into the figure of the one on a spiritual quest. Through objects here arranged in variable tableaux around a Buddha head, he manages to extract and perform the tensions between elements of time and eternity, the ladder to heaven and the feast of sensuous pleasure, the detached sage and the passionate martyr, the self as animal nature and one blindfolded against the world’s blandishments. His ‘Meeting in Darkness’ tends to transit from spirit to body. In ‘Chest of Secrets’, he conveys us to that deep substratum of consciousness.

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