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Spaces, Sentiments And The Sapiens 

Jagriti Sharma 22nd Sep 2020

A review of the exhibition ‘Breathing Through Shifting Scapes’ that is on view at the Sakshi Gallery in Mumbai till October 3, 2020.

Sakshi Gallery is marking its return and re-opening its doors with a new exhibition that could not have been more apt for the times that surround us. Titled Breathing Through Shifting Scapesand curated by Jesal Thakur, the exhibition brings together twelve artists, including Ankush Safaya, Lakshman Rao Kotturu, Madhu Das, Meghna Patpatia, Minal Damani, Nidhi Khurana, Rachana Badrakia, Ratna Gupta, Sitaram Swain, Sneh Mehra, Sujith SN and Suhasini Kejriwal. All of them, in their own way, understand the shifts that occur as a result of political, social or ecological changes.

Lakshman Rao Kotturu. Pack up. Steel G.L Fencing Wine Black Mesh. 49.5x27.5x14 Inches

Lakshman Rao Kotturu. Pack up. Steel G.L Fencing Wine Black Mesh. 49.5x27.5x14 Inches All Images are Courtesy of the Artists and Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai.

Spaces are often the source of identity for an individual or a community, they are also the site where memory and cultures are stored. Spaces are also the battlefield for forces of thought or the physical nature to clash. Terming them as ‘Scapes’, the exhibition at Sakshi Gallery tries to understand the different kinds of spaces that exist physically or in abstraction. The transition between the different landscapes can be from the land to water, exploring geological changes; it can be in cityscapes where the boundaries are political and social. The artistic exploration is to present a multi-layered reality that unearths the disruption that comes from the multitude of conflated spaces. 

Madhu Das. Three Views Of Mapping Huge Cloud. 2009. Archival Print On Hahnemuhle Archival Paper. (Edition: 1/5+2AP). 29.5x22.4 Inches

Madhu Das. Three Views Of Mapping Huge Cloud. 2009. Archival Print On Hahnemuhle Archival Paper. (Edition: 1/5+2AP). 29.5x22.4 Inches All Images are Courtesy of the Artists and Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai.

Where Ratna Gupta, with a series of sculptures, records earth’s memory by depicting the constant changes and evolutions it goes through; Ankush Safaya explores the auditory dimensions of our surroundings with a minimalist, pierced surface combed with copper that signifies the natural music one hears in the space of their calm mind. While some works are a satirical comment on the social structures – case in point Nidhi Khurana who weaves traditional and time representative fabrics on a series of maps to show the changing cityscape as a result of either politics or geography – others like Madhu Das’s works, describethe relation between identity and space through the creation of the ‘mysterious’ and the ‘ambiguous’. A particular performative piece seeks to create a narrative by projecting an identity on the social and the physical realm. 

Retna Gupta. Everything Is Precious LVI. 2017. Plastic, Steel, Latex, Paper, Wood, Copper Wire, Stone, Cement, Rotting Ink, Water Based Wood Varnish. 6.5(H)x9 (W)x11(D) Inches

Retna Gupta. Everything Is Precious LVI. 2017. Plastic, Steel, Latex, Paper, Wood, Copper Wire, Stone, Cement, Rotting Ink, Water Based Wood Varnish. 6.5(H)x9 (W)x11(D) Inches All Images are Courtesy of the Artists and Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai.

The dream landscape is captured by Rachna Badrakia’s monochromatic worksthat create a surreal space away from the human touch. On a similar path of the surreal, Sujith SNuses miniature paper works to allude to a fantasy we create with the horizon and the smog. The work Prelude sets a scene for the viewer to reflect on industries, urbanisation and chaos, and leads up the imagination of an apocalyptic future. 

A series of sculptures that is bound to catch one’s eye is Lakshman Rao Kotturu’s works where he uses everyday objects like chains, ropes and scissors as a symbol of the sharpness of materialism around us. The narrative is often interwoven with folk tales, that are fused with the reality of this era of shallowness and power play that have been systematically entrenched in each being. 

S.N. Sujith. Untitled. Watercolour On Paper. 2020. 28.5x62 Inches

S.N. Sujith. Untitled. Watercolour On Paper. 2020. 28.5x62 Inches All Images are Courtesy of the Artists and Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai.

Jesal Thakur has very creatively brought together the real and the enchanting, the tangible and the abstract, the surreal and the mundane all under one roof. Through the eyes of all the artists, we see life and the universe in its multitude of dimensions; we see time and the actions that record it; and we end up co creating ephemeral spaces that we all occupy. Breathing Through Shifting Scapes probes us to observe the entangled, melded and dream like lives we all lead. And is there a better medium than art to do that?

Jagriti Sharma is an up and coming writer based in New Delhi.

Read More: A Lament of Temporal Realities

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