Peripheries of the whereabouts

Peripheries of the whereabouts – curated by Suruchi Khubchandani

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The situated entity lies in a space, structured around some matter or void. Attended by the deliberate or default idiosyncrasies, a context is proven or negated, a succinct aesthetic expression developed in the process. The periphery constitutes a marginal surface of the defined sphere of influence. The notion concurrent to the boundary, the outskirt can indicate a meek arrangement insulated from the action being accomplished towards the center. The affirmative pictorial surfaces of the 17 narrators that constitute the ‘peripheries’ attempt at disseminating a visual discourse that expands and circulates in the fringes of their existential quotient decoding references that equate and establish the macrocosm of the personal, experiential reality. The proposed shift is of the locus crashing the ontological melancholy of the periphery or the border zone as the works of art present the emblems invoking contemplation to discern today’s heritage importing ideas and views from the edge.

Friedrich Schegel emphasized that the ‘immanent structure’ of the work of art is that of reflection than of self-consciousness. Reflection may constitute the psychological act of introspection or a communal process whereby a society grasps its own identity through an examination of its cultural products. Rajib Chowdhury confers an objective comment on the functional system of the urban body deprived of sleep/respite, incarcerated in the destructive politics and social system of the time, which would eventually lead to a dire peril. The culture of excesses has led in the ruin of things offering the image of petrified unrest. Throughout Riaz Samadhan’s oeuvre, the confinement of the inner soul at hands of the material and consumerist forces stretches in a state of a partial psychological amnesia, masquerading the identity and potency of the real self. Accentuating a schematic formulation in a similar vein, Rupa Paul frames a narrative of anti-thesis exercising for the viewer a vibrant yet ambiguous visual tapestry. It directs the viewer to somewhere if not anywhere akin to a dream protocol whose finical links are unknown. In the attempt the artist forges in a post-modern symptom, eclectic in its bearing, devoid of a fixed meaning akin to a skimmed surface constituting an aura of uncertainty resonant of an emptiness that might trigger some part of the memory. The artist believes that apparent absurd monologues can sometimes provoke individual sensibilities and experience. Probably it’s a probing plane uncovering an urban memorabilia. Exemplifying an extended grimmer view of the apocalyptical subsistence of man over machines, Bhavin Mistry submits glances of the mechanical renditions. The artist affiliates to an ardent estimation whereby the lamentation and the idea of pathetic underscores with a subtle, somber palette reminiscent of the loss of innocence and beauty under the reign of urbanization. Saikat Surai depicts a photo-realistic sight, ascertaining a post-colonial gaze that treads the old pathways of the erstwhile Kolkata acting as a spectator of the miniscule fragments subject to the process of metamorphosis. A mirrored near to a twin-symmetrical division makes a fair representation of where his art comes from and where it takes viewers who consider the animated propositions earnestly. Vipul Rathod in a dialectical vein poses the ‘thick and thins’ of an urban mode of assault over spaces that had an immaculate value at a distinct time constituting part of the artist’s locale. Signifiers of processional motion towards an under constructional site reveal their presence over the wry vis-à-vis vibrant pictorial structure of the artist, essential harbingers of the mechanized culture.

Penetration into the heart of everyday things, what Walter Benjamin calls ‘the exploration of the soul of the commodity’ sought out in Apurba Nandi’s conjunctive labyrinth of images scathed one over the other processing the apparent lament of the dichotomy of a living summoned over the death of the natural rarities. Destabilizing the urban view, Arjun De highlights with a sardonic scheme the crudities of the functional political system as well as the irretrievably lost innocence of the elite/social milieu. Chronicling a subsided concern, Ashis Kumar Das portrays the deployment of an urban migrant whose sight may constitute views kaleidoscopically beautiful or menacingly fragmented. Each day may unveil a new puzzle with shifting allurements and terror. However familiar the space may seem now, the rebuking presence of an interfering agency keeps thwarting the sense and sensibility. Predominantly fragile images fill the canvases of the artist, belling the idea of an imminent collapse in terms of private security and spatial displacement. Purporting for screening of an objective reality, Jignesh Panchal seizes imagery that captures pulp of his discrete surroundings reflecting in the similiar vein the character of his cityscape. The artist chooses to celebrate this composite form rather than critiquing it on social grounds.

Megha Prabhakar ingeniously constructs an intricate network of processes adhering to the philosophy of the Chinese tradition Tao (Way) which deprives the existence of universe from isolated solid forms. The process of change and constant transformation characterizes the subsistence of apparent entities discernable through artist’s indentured paper works. In an amalgamation of design and art, Namrata Sneha treads a determined course grappling issues spurted from the factors of societal rupture brought out with an aid of an imaginative imagery, transfiguring into a surrealist domain striking a balance between ideas and forms. Narendra Patel experiences seizure of his recurring emotions captivated in force of banal complexities, grasping a sectional view of the part of universe the artist lives in. The device of over layering severed by translucence and an airy disposal of miniscule quotidian objects exemplify the spatial and psychological displacement the myopia of urban development simultaneously offers. Natraj draws his aesthetic language from existential posits fuelled with an instinctive curiosity trying to fathom and restore equilibrium between the dichotomies that the dialectic of certainty and wilderness poses. Myriad encapsulates of light and shadow and their interplay in the dimensions of nature act in juxtaposition to create floral forms meandering in abstraction as one steals a nippy glance at Nidhi Khurana’s canvasses. The artist accentuates the luminous and grey quality of light and shadow yielding forms using variety of materials: cow dung, egg tempera, cloth, stitching, thread, clay, silver and gold foil accumulating a multi-dimensional experience on a planar surface. Hereby the slick juxtaposition of promiscuous emblems develop a provocative stance while Tikendra Sahu corroborates the embossed quality of the paper to construct a deviant mode of interpretation leading to subconscious fantasies. Vinayak Bhattacharya amalgamates the photographic expression utilizing the squashy generate of watermelon pulp on maps of India. The dazzling red pulp of watermelon accidentally scattering over cheap reproductions of blank maps of India – have metaphorical bearings of blasts that threaten the country with activist attacks. The pulp is indexical of flesh, carcass, and their goriness after a massacre. At the same time the images call for a closer look at the nature of production, its source, and its use.  
In summary, the works continue to inspire as well as constrain the potential of the developmental domain. The artist’s interventions question the pre-conceived notion of progress that in a way transpires and stems up dispositional strands of the artists location in the cosmos of a broader territory. The images exposing contextual ideas subtly celebrate as well as deconstruct ontogenetic structures and mechanisms through which one’s surroundings work to reinforce identity and redresses imposed economic representations. And as one perceives these moves towards the ripe issues resting in the periphery of the socio-political milieu, it is not a result but rather a strategy that keeps the status-quo*.

* Gerardo Mosquera, from the article entitled: ‘The World of Differences, Notes about art, globalization and periphery’ 1995

Suruchi Khubchandani
September 2009