For Ritesh Meshram, often the found object is the start of the narrative. Yet, it’s not the history of the object or what it stands for that is his inspiration. It is the synapse in between. In that synapse, he intervenes, and finds a new story, a new form, a new life.
In his assemblages, the found object/objects as starting points are put together, arranged, deranged or added on to make a composite whole. This play of material, one against the other, that Meshram deploys repeatedly in his practice, is indicative of how strongly the materialness of the object matters. The narrative maybe a subliminal informant to the work, but it is the materiality that is the driving force and often leads narration into abstraction. The end result is often playful, always elegant, inviting the viewer to re-examine a familiar object in this new theatre, discarding pre-conceived ideas, as a particularity is soon rendered peculiar, then not so peculiar as a new form emerges in one’s mind. Meshram uses the material of the object to guide him onwards. Sometimes, no firm idea exists. It’s the tactility of his interaction with the object that is central to his work. Form informs in its accession, as an assemblage builds on itself, a circular form may add on to a rectangular setting. Even when there is no assemblage as in his recent work at Gasworks, where he used white cement to fill in voids, (again that synaptic junction between physical forms that excite), the wet cement allows improvisation, impressions to be made, gestures that subtly alter the familiar again. There’s lots that is accidental in his casting; that, is Meshram following an idea through, the process evolving constantly.
In his assemblages it is the mechanism that one first encounters. On looking closer, these ‘machines’ are meaningless, much as the various components comprising it no longer belong to the known. What then is this machine/installation/assemblage saying now? It is at that point of seeing, the work, works your imagination and a new avatar of old spirits takes shape in one’s mind.
- Deepika Sorabjee, Mumbai 2012