Thursday, November 29, 2012

‘City of Hope’ at Seven Art and JNU

Artist Martand Khosla’s first solo exhibit is presented courtesy Seven Art Limited in two parts at the School of Art & Aesthetics, JNU and at the Seven Art gallery itself simultaneously. It is vital that the artworks inhabit these sites of knowledge production – one a known public institution of higher learning and the other a contemporary art space – because it goes to mimic and explain several dualities within his practice.

An artist and architect who draws on his professional experiences to inform his creations materially and conceptually, his architectural practice is environmentally and socially conscious. Importantly, it’s commissioned and does participate in the ‘building’ of the country’s urban landscape and also employs the workforce increasingly getting displaced and ignored within the popular discourse of our shining future. As a curatorial note elaborates:
  • His artistic work therefore addresses and engages with the people who are ‘building’ India but who are marginally considered within India’s apparent development. The artist employs a varied and potent material vocabulary to communicate his observations. He uses brick dust, abundant at construction sites, to create portraits of the workers; to create parched and barren or abandoned landscapes; to create poetic vignettes of workers footwear and tools as they rest during lunch; and to create miniature and acrylic encased rooms of singular possessions that mark an upwardly mobile population.
  • His brick dust thus is the stuff of both the everyday and of possible and impossible dreams. The portraits are striking in that they bring to mind the Veil of Veronica, the cloth which bears a rust coloured (almost the same hue as brick dust) portrait of Jesus Christ imprinted when Saint Veronica wiped his blood stained face on his journey to the crucifix.
The exhibition takes its title from a group of work comprising 4 imagined cities that evoke India’s overflowing urban migration that locate cities as the reservoirs of hope and livelihood. It is curated by Deeksha Nath.

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