Thursday, August 22, 2013

'Neighbourhood Souvenirs’

New-Delhi based Vadehra Art Gallery presents a solo exhibition by Charmi Gada Shah as part of the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art’s (FICA) Emerging Artist Award 2011 which was shared by Charmi and Sujith SN.

The exhibition titled ‘Neighbourhood Souvenirs’ includes works which could be defined as ‘architectural sculptures’, carefully constructed with salvaged wood and tiles from different demolished buildings in her neighborhood, combined with construction materials such as concrete blocks and plaster. Starting with photographic documentation of demolished structures in her Mumbai neighborhood, she re-constructs these broken interiors in a painstakingly detailed fashion into three-dimensional, miniature, assemblages that resonate with stories of untold pasts.

Her works speak of lost places – houses stripped of their meaning and associations with the inhabitants having moved out, buildings fallen to disuse, or some abandoned. Each of these spaces retains traces of history; they are souvenirs of yet another neighbourhood that is neither significant nor spectacular; places that will be forgotten only too soon.

Shah’s practice engages with the passage of time and the subsequent shifts that have occurred in the meaning and function of architecture. She often works with built spaces that are invariably either abandoned, neglected or in a state of disuse; through the process of revisiting them, and building or innovating on their outlines, Shah draws attention back to these spaces and their disjuncture in time and space. Employing different media, including drawing, sculpture, photography, film and architecture, she formulates a network of correlations that play on notions of memory, destruction and conservation. The works, as installations, become in-situ repositories of documentation, fiction and mimesis.

The artist completed her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts (Drawing and Painting) from the L.S. Raheja School of Art, Mumbai, and her post-graduate degree from Chelsea College of Art, London. In 2009 she received the Art India Promising Artist Award.

She has exhibited in group shows such as ‘The Staircase Project’, Kashi Art Residency, Cochin (2008); ‘Relative Visa’ (2009); ‘Her Work is Never Done’ (2010) curated by Bose Krishnamachari, Mumbai apart from ‘Generation in Transition: New art from India’ curated by Magda Kardasz at the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2011). She has shown her work at Art Gwangju, Korea, by Gallery BMB (2010), and Prague Biennale 5 – India Pavilion, curated by Kanchi Mehta (2011). She lives and works in Mumbai.

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