Vadehra Art Gallery is pleased to present its latest exhibition Porous, which showcases the works of artists Ruby Chishti, Priyanka Chaudhary, Juul Kraijer and Rakhi Peswani.
As the title Porous suggests the exhibition is interested in areas of overlaps where one artist’s practice seeps into and connects with another, even as it focuses on individual practices. In different degrees the four artists investigate the fragmented body through materials and processes, complicating the circuits within which words, images, cognition and sensation function.
In the works of Ruby Chishti, Rakhi Peswani and Priyanka Choudhary, that hinge between sculpture, architecture, drawing, installation and performance, it is historical, cultural and social contexts and phenomenological experiences of the materials are brought to the fore. Juul Kraijer’s drawings offer another counterpoint – the delicate charcoal and pastel drawings seem to become almost immaterial, as if conjured in air. In all the works the process of labour is made visible, through repetition and fragmentation.
Rakhi Peswani uses pliable materials like cloth, needle, thread etc to extend the boundaries between stitching, drawing and installation. Her works explore the relationship between word and image, working through the process of how language is formed. She is equally interested in bringing to fore the historical and political connotations of the materials themselves. For the exhibition she has created an immersive installation titled Inside the Melancholic Object (an elegy for a migrant worker) with materials like coffee and cotton, referring back to 19th century histories. She evokes the metaphorical potential of the materials with repetitive and laborious physical processes.
Like Peswani, Ruby Chishti is also interested in applying craft processes within her art practice. Her emotionally charged sculptures made out of worn out clothes and fabrics that have deeply personal memories of her family and her life in Lahore. In this present series of works, she engages with the city of New York, where she now lives and works, with its architecture, and its high art and fashion worlds. In a collage, you find her turning one of her sculptures into a garment and posing with it against the New York high‐rises. These are among a series of work in the city as performance/portraits combining the architectural and body structures as witnesses to history. In another work she turns her own coat into an architectural structure, juxtaposing it with other smaller paper structures to look at the spaces the body occupies.
Priyanka Choudhary is a Delhi based artist and is holding her first major exposition in the city. Her works engage with architecture and are often produced onsite. They evoke contrary experiences of beauty, destruction, fragility and violence, and make possible a phenomenological confrontation with objects and their materialities. Here the surfaces of canvases, sedimented with lace, garments, insects, glass pieces, wire, hair etc, begin to resemble worn out walls that bear silent witness to the passing of time. Shadow and light also emerge as crucial elements in the works. In another sculpture Goat Eater, we see a wooden table like structure that acquires anthropomorphic characteristics – a body on the verge of collapse as blades of luminous green glass pierce through its structure.
Perhaps it is Dutch artist Juul Kraijer’s work that is most different from the other three. Her charcoal drawings have an almost apparitional quality. Kraijer speaks of her practice being marked by ‘monomania’, returning time and again to female figures and heads that don’t seem to convey any markers of place or time. Often conjoined with elements of nature and subject to mutations and transformations, these diaphanous figures speak of an interior state of mind. Kraijer incorporates rubbing and wiping as techniques within her drawings, allowing the traces of the earlier exercises to remain visible in the final work. There is also a series of photographs in the exhibition that explore similar themes of duality and co‐habitation as in the drawings.