Cults of Serendipity is the American debut exhibition for New Delhi based artist Jagannath Panda. The Frey Norris presentation is timed to coincide with his appearance as part of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco'sPhantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past. His art focuses on serendipitous moments, juxtaposed locations and in some ways reflects his own observations of Gurgaon, a quickly developing suburb of New Delhi where the ancient is often overrun by new housing developments, warehouses and air-conditioned shopping malls.
Panda’s work for Cults of Serendipity includes mixed media sculpture, works on paper and “paintings” incorporating great varieties of pastiched and patterned textiles, more a kind of layered collage, evocative of new cities built on ghost cities, whole civilizations layered on top of previous ones. Brocade fabrics imitate the skins of animals, feathers or foliage. Panda’s imagery plays with scale in deceptive ways; the edges of a massive patterned heart sinks a root into a pot, as though a fertile plant and simultaneously a sitter in a portrait, the patterning of its ventricles like so many options at a bazaar. The Ouroboros or world serpent appears in both two and three dimensions, swallowing its tail and coiling around sharp geometries that blend perspective on architectures seen from below, above and in profile. Ubiquitous pigeons seem similarly confused by these plays on orientation and flutter around unsure where to perch.
A 20 page catalogue is available with essay by Cristin McKnight Sethi, a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley researching and writing her dissertation on phulkari embroidery from Punjab.
On Saturday, May 5th at 3:00pm, there will be a panel discussion at Frey Norris with artist Jagannath Panda and Tomokazu Matsuyama; gallerist Peter Nagy of Nature Morte, New Delhi; Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Cristin McKnight Sethi and moderator Raman Frey. The event is free and open to the public.