Friday, December 21, 2012

‘Devoid’: A quest for abstraction

Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris presents a series by Mithu Sen on the eve of her first solo in France. In line with some of her most emblematic artworks, here she repeats a visual idiom very much characteristic of her sculptures and drawings: a frank femininity’s eroticism and the unveiling of an intimacy, which makes us touch uncomfortable; the inanimate objects’ reactivation in order to generate a confusion of identity – whether emotional geographical or sexual, apart from an insistence on depiction of the body as a material, organic entity and on dissection and isolation of its parts as peculiar pictorial motifs, alongside.

A curatorial note explains: “With her disturbing shadow theatre installation, she sheds light on her darkest imaginings and confronts us with her personal world: a procession of finely cut-out forms – animals, objects, bits of dismembered, disjointed bodies and nightmarish visions. As a storyteller, she confronts us with our own subconscious and takes us with a subtle dark humor on a journey of initiation into the city of Paris. By presenting us revisited pop icons of our immediate environment seen as an outsider, her installation is the critical diary of her three weeks residency in Paris.”

The shadows, fading memories as well as perceptions of the land the artist encounters, immaterial traces, layers and also fragmented parts represents a response to the blending of two different time zones : the history of her experiences, memories of the city and the present duration. Here she makes the shadow theatre profane by manipulating the effigies in her magic artifact and deceive our perceptions.

With ‘Devoid’, she takes further strides in her artistic quest for abstraction, not forsaking a bit of her droll impertinence or the insubordination of her apt and precise line. ‘Bareness is the void’, she explains, ‘but a void after there has been a presence: a withdrawn existence.’ By inviting viewers to experience the immateriality of the voids of hidden light and the fullness of projected light, the artist rules out any kind of passivity and the viewer acts as a dynamic support for disseminating these shadows, and a mobile actor of these active forces.”

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