An exercise to juxtapose different approaches of individual artists

Two separate exhibitions showcase various styles, forms and materials by leading contemporary artists. First comprise sculptures that make us aware of the vast archives of waste.

The three artists participating in Urban Spiel’ live in three different metros in Europe and in Asia. Sumedh Rajendran, living and working in New Delhi, meditates on capitalism, the urban signs attached to monuments, and public utilities. He often turns the various public signs into complex sculptural, 3-dimensional collages, which combine the previously made with recently found objects.

‘Urban Spiel’ curated by Shaheen Merali and on view at Bodhi Berlin addresses the described condition and, by the means of its density of material, these sculptures make us aware of the vast archives of taste and waste which so conveniently induce and seduce our daily living. In conceptualizing, compiling and exhibiting the creations, many of the notations allow access to the sophisticated language of metropolitan spaces. Through the use of diverse material the participating artists and their sculptures alert us to the incredible waste of everyday ‘stuff’ generated by a growing consumerist population.

Living and working in London, Paul Eachus creates strange environments out of printed material, using printed text, advertisements, paper bags, abandoned plastics, and other similar, mundane pleasantries. These structures, complicated and seemingly useless - like shifting terrains - are precarious and beautiful. The large-scale photographs, meticulously printed, are often the only evidence that these sculptures have ever existed.

These sculptures can be viewed not only as domicile curiosities, but also as haunts for sophisticated hobos, mentions an accompanying essay, as is also evident in works of artist Rob Voerman who makes subtle habitable environments from found metal and wood as well as displaced shelves and doors. His cabinets like body suits are reminiscent of armor and drawn from our lackadaisical disdain for furniture and taste.

Bodhi Art, Gurgaon is simultaneously showcasing ‘Material/ Im-material’ brings together works of six contemporary artists Alex Mathew, Anju Dodiya, Atul Dodiya, Gargi Raina, G. R. Iranna and Manisha Parekh who have deliberately and effectively used varied material in their creative expression.

Sculptor Alex Mathew is known for his painted wood reliefs. A rather striking feature of his work is the way in which he handles his material, preferring to leave as much of the essence of the original medium as possible. On the other hand, G. R. Iranna’s sculpture installation- Silencer has four fibreglass figures convincingly life-like in their muscularity and rough-hewn robustness.

Anju Dodiya’s suite of mixed media works created at the STPI has in use broken shards of mirror, artificial jewels, screen prints of mazes, maps, birds, horses and candles, all superimposed on or juxtaposed with large and small female heads that have been drawn and digitally reproduced. The screen print images have been sourced from the artist’s impressive personal inventory. In many of her works, Gargi Raina has assimilated objects and artifacts belonging to her family collection- photographic portraits, manuscripts, colonial coins, archeological drawings of a room, as well as found objects.

Over the years, Atul Dodiya has expanded the boundaries of painting by embracing a variety of media. Sitaharan, River of Bones and Jail are from the series based on Dodiya’s own interpretation of the legend of Sabari and the Ramayana. In creating these paper works, the artist has used cotton shirts, gold leafing, cast paper shapes, flocking, synthetic hair, among other things, both embedding the material in the paper and embossing the forms in places.

Manisha Parekh has worked with different materials like handmade paper, board, jute rope, silk and embroidery thread. Her works are grounded in the material, raw and basic.

Material/ Im-material tries to juxtapose the different approaches of the individual artists in their selection and deployment of materials; the manners in which they have engaged with them; how these have been exploited for their qualities and have shifted in context.

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