The Guild Art Gallery is delighted to present Mirage, the second solo exhibition of Sathyanand Mohan previewing on Thursday, April 12.
“The show called 'Mirage' comprises works that I have done in the last two years; it is so titled in order to encompass most of the works, which though disparate in style and content are unified by a few underlying themes that I have been preoccupied with over the last few years.
The first of these is the relationship between language and representation, which is the underlying engagement of the set of works titled 'Abecedaire'. Borrowing a simple formal element from children's language primers, these works push the question of interpretation, - not just of the art-work, but also of experience itself, - to the foreground. We grasp the world through language, - or to put it another way, the world comes to us as a representation mediated through language which, far from being a pure or neutral medium, is always already ideological. Thus experience is always partial and the entry into language, which makes us subjects of the world, necessarily comes at a price. One could say that the subject matter of the work is the question of interpretation itself and its relationship to subjectivity.
The works called 'Oracle' are also distantly related to the same theme. Oracles were diviners and interpreters, with the ability to read meaning into chance and randomness, perhaps reflecting a very human desire to impose form and intelligibility on an otherwise contingent and incoherent universe whose workings remain obscure to us.
The interest in language and representation inevitably leads us to its obverse, silence. It is in this sense that death, which occurs as a metaphor in many of the works, is intimately tied to language, - as the place where it ceases, and which thereby marks its limit. The French philosopher Jacques Lacan called this the Real, - which he defined as “that which resists symbolization entirely.” The Real is of course unrepresentable. Apart from, obviously, death, trauma was for Lacan an exemplary instance of the impasse of language. Seen this way, silence has a necessarily political dimension to it, - primarily in what Lacan calls the death in the Symbolic, where someone is cast out or excommunicated from the linguistic and cultural life-world of the community and made a pariah. To be deprived of a voice is to be politically disenfranchised, silenced; it is worth remembering that, for instance, Gayatri Spivak's canonical essay is called “Can the Subaltern Speak?”.
These are some of the themes that I have been exploring in the last two or three years, and the body of work that I am showing as part of this show hopefully reflects some of these concerns.”
Born in Kerala, 1975, Sathyanand obtained BFA in Painting from the Government College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum, 1994-1998. MFA in Printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University Baroda, 1998-2000. He has been a part of Singapore Art Fair 2011, Dubai Art Fair 2011, India Art Summit 2011, KIAF 09, India Art Summit 09, 'Armory Show' 09, New York and 'ART HK 09', Hongkong represented by The Guild, Mumbai. His first solo was ‘Reliquary’, held at The Guild, Mumbai in 2009. Some of his group exhibitions include Alternate to Another, The Guild Art USA Inc., New York; A New Vanguard: Trends in Contemporary Indian Art, Saffronart, New York; The Guild, New York; Through a Glass Darkly: Reflections on the Self-Portrait, The Guild, Mumbai.