Participating artists are Anoli Perera (Srilanka), Benitha Percival (Chennai, India), C. Douglas Chatfield (Chennai, India), Manisha Gera Baswani (Delhi, India), Masooma Syed (Pakistan/India), Muhammed Zeeshan (Pakistan), Mohammad Wahiduzzaman (Bangladesh), Shivani Aggarwal (Delhi, India) and Thomas and Renee Rapedius (Germany).
Says Bhavna Kakar, Director, Latitude 28 and curator of the show: “Tactile – a quality deeply linked to the sense of touch, it is a palpable rendition of character in a feeling, a frame of mind, a visceral response; an adjective that makes tangible as metaphor, elusive ideas or the texture of a distant memory. It is more than a physical faculty. In fact, it transcends such corporeality to help assimilate the experience of sensory perception. And to visually evoke tactility can become an interesting exercise, a necessity or even a compulsion.”
As we debate a post-medium condition where boundaries of media and material fall apart to create a space where anything goes, if the artist should say so, a new relevance emerges for materials and media. A free flowing interaction between different media creates a space through the invalidation of their isolated relevance, where re-evaluation and new meaning making occurs. Fixating on tactility, media and material conspire to evoke their own tactile natures as a sentiment, a mood or an emotion that registers in the visual realm.
For instance, Sri Lankan artist Anoli Perera makes a work out of safety pins, cloth, tailor’s dummy and wire titled The Shroud for a Lost Mother. She says: “Life is replete with delayed or posthumous actions and lamentations. The Shroud for a Lost Mother refers to an action or non-action with reference to an already lost opportunity for intervention. It references the pain, loss and the guilt that manifests as a lamentation. In another interpretation, violence is denoted and futility of prevention comes as a procedure too delayed, that its presence now only remains as a reminder of a posthumous lamentation and a monument for guilt…or a cage for guilt where violence is still present.”
The safety pins, woven together for the shroud, has a close affinity with dress-making and women’s garments used as a tool for holding, tightening, loosening and fastening. It also has a potentiality for violence, a tool of defence and hidden macabre. The white garment underneath the shroud of safety pins plays the sense of purity, innocence, and veneration that is already violated. The work oscillates between violence, safety, loss, guilt; it leaves an anxiety that is impregnated in the work unresolved.
Bangladeshi artist Mohammad Wahiduzzaman, twice winner of the Berger award, Bangladesh’s highest honour for a young artist, makes a work titled Image + Experience = You (acrylic on canvas and steel), which is inspired by his understanding of the present world which is losing its humanity in trying to balance values of life with rationality and practicality. This thought has inspired artist Wahiduzzaman to depict the degradation in modern society through symbols, colours and textures.
He says about his work: “In this era, every child grows up with an image of his or her Hero from the world of fantasy. Either comic books or animated motion images create a perception of such idol that fights against evils with unimaginable super powers and work for social welfare. Gradually these perceptions mingle with experiences gathered from society, current unstable status quo and daily anxieties of life. Our subconscious mind makes a transitional bridge among fantasy and reality where we search the feasibility of power within human kind. Then the aspects of experience speak to subconscious mind to get reflection from the realm of fantasy. Human nature is intelligent enough to respond and participate with the precision-- origin of willpower and strength of determination, among some images from real world that appeared as the true reflection of Super Human. In my artworks, the vibrant glittering colour of base reflects the surface where two images from fantasy and reality brings me to self - that is “You”.”
Thomas & Renée Rapedius studied together at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in
Thomas & Renée Rapedius’ sculptures consist of simple and lightweight materials, frequently paper or cardboard — the materials, not coincidentally, most often used for drawing. Seen two dimensionally, the silhouettes of the often tall, towering objects almost form lines in space. They are hieroglyphs written in three dimensions, so to speak, that can change at any moment and give rise to a whole range of images in the mind of the viewer: plants growing out of the floor, chimneys abstracted to symbols of themselves, phallic shapes like those of primeval fertility icons. The quiet, hallucinatory metamorphosis of shapes forms a universe of lines, planes and volumes which, along with the restrained palette, recalls the graphic look of much conceptual and post conceptual art. But for Thomas & Renée Rapedius the starting point is always visual observation rather than linguistically formulated concepts or plans that systematically guide the process.
Pakistani artist Masoom Sayed sculptural works titled All the King’s Men and Jacob’s Creek are inspired by and embellished with images from nature. She says: “Nature is vivacious and musical. It is colourful and it sings to its own truth. The two colourful pieces in the show are embellished with images from nature. They are inspired by flowers and birds of paradise, by plants, feathers and reference to human body.”
Syed has often made use of human hair in her earlier works. Here the hats in her works are made out of women’s panties and are designed to look like a cabaret hat or crowns of the royals or even those worn by the holy ones. It is a celebration of the hidden and the forbidden. On one hand, they are an attempt at demystifying the grace and grandeur of the sacred and the hidden. And on the other, they represent a pun and play on our social snobbery and our self-imposed taboos on the human body.
Shivani Aggarwal’s work titled Half Knit is based on the usage of ‘Threads’ and with thin red threads hanging on and around the works explore the relationship between tension and release, attachment and separation, bondage and freedom. She says: “Threads are knit sometimes or cut to shreds. They repair at times and entangle at others. My work discovers these relationships using everyday objects and instruments. The webbed mass of red thread takes on the form of blood vessels, as though organically and systematically formed. The resulting image seems to be of a great spilling out emphasizing on some sort of loss or some sort of fullness of holding together.”
For some time now, Manisha Gera Baswani has been drawn to heritage and her works in tea water and gouache in the current show, titled How Green Was My Valley and Melting Moments have been inspired from her visits to Mandu .
She says: “Nature has been the primal force for my works. It had been confined into tight parameters and insets in my earlier works but in the current tea water series in the show, I have let nature flow to regally become all-pervading.”
These works take us through the landscapes of Mandu hills in the heat of summer and through a journey though the river