Wednesday, July 17, 2013

‘Chance Pieces’ at Gallery Nature Morte, Berlin

Gallery Nature Morte hosts Anita Dube’s first solo in Germany at its Berlin venue. ‘Chance Pieces’ collates sculptures, wall-based works and text pieces by this Delhi-based artist. Primarily known to be a sculptor, she works in a wide variety of media and materials. Her aesthetic language incorporates ubiquitous objects, everyday materials and images that together resonate with a meaning far beyond perceived local and prosaic associations.

She puts to use various found objects/materials largely drawn from the curious realms of sheer industrial waste (wire, foam, plastic), the physical human (bones, dentures, body parts), sacred iconographies (enamel idol eyes, calligraphy, hymns, poetry,) and indigenous craft (thread, beads, fabrics). Throughout her illustrious career, this versatile artist has persistently resisted making her practice too absolute; Anita Dube’s avoidance of pronouncements lets her perceive art as ‘a form of speculation, which makes an attempt to turn people’s attention towards something’. 

Throwing light on her works and the philosophy behind them, a press release states: “The artist’s on-going investigations into personal and societal loss and regeneration pry apart the political obstacles that get in the way of the human element, sometimes in its bare rawness. ‘Ah (a sigh)’ enlarges a degenerated newspaper image of striving Indians and spells out a Hindi character across its surface with velvet-covered tree roots.

“Such works are indicative of her use of a conceptual language that valorizes the sculptural fragment as a bearer of personal and social memory, history, mythology, and phenomenological experience. Her aesthetic approach to textuality is combined with an engagement with the intimacy of touch and a Gnostic exploration of the abstractions of linguistic systems. The sensitive practitioner brings together experiences of mortality, desire, pain and pleasure –all rolled in one.  In the large-scale sculpture ‘Little Weapons of Defense’, she has constructed a freestanding jali screen (similar to those found in Mughal architecture) from discarded styrofoam packing materials.”

Rudimentary weapons, rock-shaped objects with skins of black velvet are nestled into the jali’s spaces. They appear to bleed over the structure. Velvet has become her signature material as she tries to deal with issues of the body, gender, and beauty.

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