Anita Dube’s new series of works

Working from the academic heritage of art criticism, Anita Dube's sculptures and photo-images straddle the often nebulous line between conceptual and artisanal productions; between the cerebral and visceral.

Her recent works on view at Bose Pacia, NY present a dialogue between: Phantoms of Liberty, a suite of eight sculptural compositions comprised of found objects wrapped in camouflage fabric; a large-scale word made of wax; and a series of photographs of words molded out of raw meat.

While each body of work has a distinct voice within the space, they come together, providing an intelligent and thoughtful investigation of the aesthetics of the inside/outside dynamic that navigates the intricacies of the access to and representation of personal and social phenomena. Each work, visually distinct, eloquently contributes to the conceptual gestalt of embodying the space between personal and social labor as well as consciousness.

Initially trained as an art historian and critic, her oeuvre brings together experiences of mortality, desire, pain and pleasure. Over the years she has developed an aesthetic language that privileges sculptural fragment as a cultural bearer of personal and social memories, history, mythologies and phenomenological experience.

Employing a variety of found objects drawn from the regions of the industrial (foam, plastic, wire) craft (threads, beads, velvet, sequins, pearls), the somatic (dentures, bones), and the ritual and the popular (ceramic eyes), Anita Dube explores a divergent range of subjects.

Anita Dube studied art criticism from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda, India. She was involved in the activities of the Indian Radical Painters and Sculptors Association until 1989. Her early experimentation as a practitioner, as a sculptor, was the result of her affinity with the association that provided a sharp and abrasive critique and analysis of the Indian social and political situation. At that time, her work was dedicated to an exploration of the human body, its tactility and its resilience.

Art writer and critic Philippe Vergne in an essay has described her work as having ‘developed an aesthetic language that privileges sculptural fragment as a cultural bearer of personal and social memories, history, mythologies and phenomenological experiences.’

The same rings true for her most recent body of work. Wax sculptures spell out the word void. There is a certain intimacy that arises from the nearly life-sized proclamations whose molded surface is both inviting yet foreboding. Her previous radical political experience is still very evident in her work, and the body she refers to is consciously political and critical, avoiding with grace the trap of message-based art or dogmatism.

Her work harkens to the space between private and public labor. Her creation made of found household objects, meticulously wrapped in camouflage-patterned fabric, predicates the performative act of making personal objects public. The act of wrapping them is reminiscent of historically feminine forms of domestic labor which have often been tied to the public repression of personal exertions.

More recently, she also worked with industrially manufactured ceramic eyes that are meant to be incorporated into Hindu religious idols commonly found in Indian temples. Site-specific in their installation, she began to affix these variably-size eyes to the spots in the ceiling where the walls of a room form a corner. According to the artist, these eyes are like people for me and this could speak of large migration in history. It also has to do with the village-city migration that is fraught with despair. Lastly it could be cells growing from the other like a viral disease.

View Anita Dube’s work in the Saffronart catalogue

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