A show of diverse, dramatic works woven around intriguing themes

As part of a swap programme between the New York gallery Thomas Erben and the Mumbai gallery Chatterjee and Lal, various talented artists’ works, including Chitra Ganesh, Yamini Nayar, Ashok Sukumaran, Kiran Subbaiah and Krishna Reddy has come to Mumbai.

Yamini Nayar's photo-images of hand-made, entirely constructed miniature sets of private interiors portray a sly neglect for proportion and perspective even while highlighting the personal nature of everyday ephemera via a hyphenated narrative. Devoid of human figures, our reading of these objects gets highly intensified, and so is the tension between the artist's unstable unification between photography and sculpture.

On the other hand, bold, surreal images by Chitra Ganesh reflect varying representations of female sexuality and power. She explores both Eastern and Western cultures. Her diverse portfolio comprising digital collages, works on paper, photographs and paintings display disjunctive narratives, cracking visual motifs and aesthetically pleasing constructions. Her bold, surreal images reflect varying representations of female sexuality and power.

Explaining the thought behind her work, she has once stated: “Social hierarchies and codes are upheld just as frequently via the absence and repression of narratives that are perceived as threatening to our world order (be it between lovers or empires). So the gaps in official history, the open fields where history and myth meet (or intersect), became a central engagement in my work.”

Recovering buried histories to consciously bring them into a public and contemporary realm has informed her art practice and her working with contemporary/ historical political figures and mass mediated imagery. She states, “This imagery has not been fully explored; these stories contain question marks that can be best articulated through imaginative visual language.”

Elaborating on her curious source material, the artist has once quipped: “I tend to draw from a broad range of source materials that comprise Greek and Hindu myths, the 19th century portraiture, legal and activist testimonies, Bollywood posters etc. By inserting altered imagery into the traditional narrative forms, I layer disparate images and incorporate sculptural forms into my site-specific, large-scale drawings to create a space where suppressed stories are drawn to the surface.”

Another artist on view, Kiran Subbaiah has moved away from constraints of sculpting to work in a wide range of media - from film to photography - and other experimental work on the Internet. His creations are simultaneously unified by skepticism and allegory both, in turn getting viewed through a nonsensical Dadaist lens, whereas Ashok Sukumaran's new-and-old-media interventions into urban infrastructure are innovative.

Viewing the civic terrain as culture and not, as a mere framework for culture, the artist's aesthetics of engineering traverse diverse political topics with ease through their public, private and commercial habitats even while opening up the ever-present, unchallenged paradigms of technology and sociability.

Also on view is celebrated printmaker Krishna Reddy is considered a pivotal figure in India's artistic journey through Modernism. He is renowned for his self-developed 'simultaneous color intaglio prints'. His prints, often done in semi-abstract or abstract, revolve around subjects from nature, besides human figures.

A worshipper of nature, he has an ability to invest each engraved plate with an elemental experience that subtly merges with the spiritual. Yet, what Reddy does is to strip his sketches of all-extraneous detailing. There is a definite thematic and stylistic links between his prints and sculptures. The latter include works in bronze, stone, terracotta and marble. His works in marble have a feeling of elegance and poise. Reddy's works, at most times, come from the real – from what he sees and perceives.

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