Saturday, July 23, 2011

Celebration and lament of a disintegrating world

London based Aicon Gallery presents a solo by Baiju Parthan, ‘Dislocation’ (Milljunction Part 2). The artist has stated: “Mumbai being a cosmopolitan city, consists of a floating population, of immigrants from various parts of the country. Each one of these communities and individuals has their own version of Mumbai as their recollection of getting to know and comprehend Mumbai.

"The most homogeneous/coherent recollection of Mumbai I have heard is of Bombay as a city of textile mills. During British raj it was called the Manchester of the east because of the textile mills. The typical Bombay chawl culture and the resulting ethos which get depicted as the Bombay in Bollywood movies belongs to this era of textile mills. (Chawls are one room tenement apartments with a common toilet where the mill workers used to live.)

"Then in 1982 there was a major mill strike and the mills shut down one by one. Today the mill sites and the chawls are being developed into premium residential towers. I have chosen to look at the vestiges the fast disappearing mill presence through a handful of icons. How the familiar is erased all the time to make way for the new. At the same time it is not nostalgia, but is a lament.”

The exhibition presents a suite of works. In some, different styles of painting exist within a single frame, in others it seems like two different time zones are pictured simultaneously. Parthan also subtly uses mirroring within some of the works and in others the surface is interrupted by dripping computer code. This gives rise to a dizzying sense of multiplicity. Parthan has said:

Parthan's new works are both celebration and lament, archaic and super-technological. His use of mirroring, time-lags and alternate realities suggests a world, or a mind that is disintegrating, the products of a restless gaze that never settles on one thing, or one time zone, for long.

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