EXHIBITION - Ranbir Kaleka (Dec 16, 2011-Jan 08, 2012) :

Ranbir Kaleka’s “Fables” will be his first major exhibition in Delhi, since 1995. The visual narrative of the exhibition follows a dream-logic based on a aesthetic and psychological landscape. The exhibition comprises 5 works, 3 still moving images (video projections on canvas with images) and 2 digital prints on canvas.

His works are best explained through the following quotes by the artist himself and some of the experts in the field.

The contribution of an artist such as Ranbir reminds us of the incredible fragility and beauty of human consciousness with its unnerving dependence on a discursive enterprise by which it feels simultaneously shackled and empowered. His ardent preoccupation with this central existential dilemma places him at a pivotal position in the very historical development that his work powerfully but subtly undermines. The poignancy and fecundity of his images stems from their ambivalence towards a discursive structure that both occasions and annuls them. They live a charmed existence in which they might at any moment dissolve back into the temporal fabric of the artist’s methodology or alternately might assert their independence and take charge of proceedings, enticing the viewer with a series of come-ons the significance of which he/she only dimly grasps.

– David Olivant

Viewing many of these pieces one has the impression of being summoned into a world within the frame of the work which seems to be on the verge of moving from a dream stage to waking. The point is not that Ranbir’s figuration and juxtaposition often have a dream - logic but more importantly that the aesthetic and psychological landscape of his work is not closed--one where the viewer must try to decode the artist’s meaning--but open--inviting the viewer into the making of meaning. To put this another way, it is not merely the artist’s ideas being presented to us via dream imagery but the work itself seems to be dreaming, and inviting us to dream with it.

– Arnab Chakladar

I am afraid to fix meanings. I am very comfortable with uncertainty and have found a place of comfort in it. It is not as if I am not trying to find clarity. I am always trying to do that but I don’t want to fix meaning to anything. This is the state of mind I work in. If something is discordant it just feels right. If the incomprehension is comfortably complete but at that point it begins to generate meaning as it were and is no longer incomprehension, it’s a way towards comprehending.

– Ranbir Kaleka in an interview with Meera Menezes

Kaleka takes up everyday dreams, joys and sorrows as his material, and extracts from it an essential, existential sorrow, and a meditation on the fleetingness of emotion even as light fleets across the screen to create images. Kaleka’s work in video is distinguished by its insistence on holding the momentary, acknowledging its passing nature, meditating on its impermanence, gently grinding away at two ends of the video—first as incomplete narrative and then again as impermanent apparition.

– Chaitanya Sambrani

In Ranbir Kaleka’s language and interpretative quality belong to the realm of metaphor and myth, rather than text or reportage… From the implicit comment of contemporary India Kaleka’s vision expands laterally and inwards.

– Gayatri Sinha

Kaleka’s subject-matter is representational and yet, by the form and brevity of its videoed avatar, by a trick of durational fallacy, by sheer transience, it erases its signified meaning. The imaged body – at the brink of dissolution and disappearance – reads like an index of mortality. Its quotidian identity is subordinated to a fragile sense of being where no assertion, no action is necessary except that which trusts in a minimal continuum of survival. The language of representation enters the liminal zone and the encounter, sanguine, serene, evanescent, resembles a haiku where the hypothesis offered about a lived life needs no backing of proof

– Geeta Kapur

That space does interest me. Again as a space of an event, and that’s a psychological event. And the actual happening of the event, when art happens, that happens outside of the frame of the painting. There are indications, there are gestures, there is a trajectory from the eye travelling from one point to the other. But if we need to experience as to what is happening, then we have to close our eyes and let the event happen.

– Ranbir Kaleka in an interview with Michael Worgotter

Painting for this man seems to be the site where the Self and the Social comfortably coalesce, where conflict is resolved through its suspension in a transparent condition, where all of history can cozy up to contemporaneity. This degustation of images that both stands for and flows from the Psyche enables both consumption and contemplation, acknowledging both influence and individual will, the ego and its uneasy acceptance of historical antecedents.

– Peter Nagy

Ranbir emphasised also that the medium, not just the oils or the pigments, but the medium which is painting itself, offers a resistance, but this resistance is a source of freedom, and as it dissolves, the transformation into painting may begin to take place.

– Kenneth Kiff

In exact contrast ... ‘is’ the video-work of Ranbir Kaleka, whose aesthetic is based on the principle of liminality. The use of the digital medium allows him to achieve a transparency, a hallucinatory quality where the (male) character/person/body is both present and absent, reducible to a pixel- puzzle and conjured as a simulacrum — a copy of that which does not exist in material terms or just enough to throw a shadow and create a contemplative moment of identification. Or, on the other hand, to tantalize vision itself with a fleeting grasp of desire.

– Geeta Kapur