Kolkata-born and Chicago-trained artist VIRAAG DESAI’s works have always moved between arriving at abstraction through structure - pictorial, architectural or cartographic - and arriving at abstraction through process. He gives physicality, but no figuration. He leaves traces of the body, but the body is not there. The subject reveals itself to the careful viewer.
‘Septum’ is his ode to Frida Kahlo, the portrait of an artist who often tore open her chest to reveal a bleeding heart. A heart that was divided by transparent membranes that sheathed her memories.
Presented as a collection of objects, symbols and textural memories, Viraag’s canvas invites the viewer’s eye to move from bottom upwards. We see Frida’s idyllic days of youth, a life of flowing hair, flowers and romantic love. Then we see a shattering of dreams and the setting in of starkness, as countless botched surgeries slowly drain away all hope. But the life-blood continues to flow, carrying memories through her arteries. The artist’s medium, resin becomes both protective sheet and dividing tissue. The top of the canvas is almost pristine in its emptiness. A heart torn apart by rivets and nails, a heart with dripping arteries, gives up all suffering …. and the end becomes the beginning.