1X1 announces its relocation to a new space in Alserkal Avenue with an exhibition of select works by Anju Dodiya, Bharti Kher, Chittrovanu Mazumdar, Hema Upadhyay, Mithu Sen, Nasreen Mohamedi, Sudarshan Shetty and Zarina Hashmi.
Anju Dodiya’s works are loaded with poetic symbolism and cross-pollinated by references from a broad array of cultures, media and historical periods, from classical Medieval and Renaissance paintings and tapestries to Japanese Ukio-e prints, to the films of Ingmar Bergman. Her meticulous watercolors, charcoal drawings and acrylic paintings depict dream-like, mysterious scenes, in which Dodiya is often the main protagonist, finding her way through dramatic, archetypal narratives that are sometimes whimsical, sometimes terrifying and violent.
Bharti Kher’s continuing interest in the domestic sphere takes form in her work The Mistress and Master of Grand Ceremonies. The work comprising two large glass cabinets atop solid granite blocks explores Kher’s fascination with the ritual of the grand tea ceremony in India. Her interest lies especially in the particular tea ritual in India associated with the matrimonial tradition where boy meets girl for the first time –the beginning of an acquaintance between two people who might end up spending the rest of their lives together. The two glass cases, one with a precariously stacked tower of bone china tea cups, saucers, bowls and a milk jug and the other half filled with grains of rice on top of which are shiny, white ceramic samosas. All the ingredients for the ceremony on display, the broken china cup and the inherent awkwardness within the work pronounce a disquieting humour that in turn highlights the flux of domestic life, which might be anything but utopian.
Says Chittrovanu Mazumdar about his work titled Manifesto “All these works play with the idea of the manifesto which is always double or multiple – in the sense of propagating an idea through reproduction of itself, its message. Hence the print medium, which in turn is always reused, melted down, metal types recast and reformed; it lends itself to becoming another structure of communication. The wax also melted, scrapped to rewrite on. I have stressed on this as a method of communication. A manifesto, which never achieves closure because of what it is. The dead book, which, declares nothing, has as its title the signing off – ‘With kind regards.’ The galley, the words-in-making, all words strung together to become statements and get washed away again.
Hema Upadhyay’s Moderniznation is an installation of an aerial view of an urban slum, made from found material including aluminum sheets and tarpaulin. Employing Realism as an approach in these works, this floor installation is created from meticulous, almost obsessive workings with miniaturized forms and materials (that are often the materials used in the real built elements). From afar the work looks like an abstract floor but as one approaches the work the 3D elements on the aluminum sheets bring the reference alive creating the ‘Romanticism’ in the revolt and energetic striving that emerges from the squalor and inadequate conditions of the Mumbai’s landscape and is a celebration of the horizontal nature of human relations that still exists.
Mithu Sen is an artist and a Bengali poet, whose oeuvre of visual art is a keen hybrid of self-reflection and playful expression, marked by a dark sense of humor. Sen’s practice develops from a strong drawing background that has furthered into an expressional vocabulary of her own, which involves multiple media forms like drawing, sculpture, sound, video films, and site specific installations. These varied materials are used as metaphors in her works, where the simple game of life in performance progresses into a poetic evocation of human existence.
Nasreen Mohamedi, is an Indian artist best known for her line-based drawings, and today considered one of the most essential modern artists from India. Despite being relatively unknown outside of her native India during her lifetime, Mohamedi’s work has been the subject of significant revival in international critical and popular acclaim over the last ten years. Mohamedi’s work defies categorization; the result of a disciplined and sustained effort to craft an individual formal vocabulary, it remains without parallel, the product and artifact of Mohamedi’s distinctive personality, process, and aesthetic values. Although it is often difficult to temporally locate her work, as she frequently left pieces untitled and undated, many critics have segmented her oeuvre into three general periods: an early period of sketches and semi-representational collage in the 1950s to mid-1960s, a “classic” period of increasingly non-representational forms, including her signature grid-based drawings, and a mature style in pen and ink.
Sudarshan Shetty’s I know nothing of the end – A large intricately carved wooden cage with its carving inspired by the design of a window of the Sidi Saiyyed mosque, suggests itself as a figure of the human body and the psychology of the presented self, its detail and ornament forming a strained distraction from its otherwise simple function. The body of the cage alludes to the distortion brought about by the five senses and their complicating effect on the perception of self, an internal struggle that must be negotiated day after day. As if in response, above, words read, Where will you go. The phrase is left unfinished, lacking a question mark, perhaps because an answer is not truthfully expected.
The work of Zarina Hashmi is defined by her adherence to the personal and the essential. While her work tends towards minimalism, its starkness is tempered by its texture and materiality. Her art poignantly chronicles her life and recurring themes include home, displacement, borders, journey and memory. Best known as a printmaker, Zarina prefers to carve instead of draw the line, to gouge the surface rather than build it up. She has used various mediums of printmaking including intaglio, woodblocks, lithography, and silkscreen, and she frequently creates series of several prints in order to reference a multiplicity of locales or concepts.