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ARTSOME Exhibition

Group show "Myth and Superstition" runs through November 28 at The Lodhi, New Delhi, India

N.Ramachandran

Myth and Superstitionan exhibition of mixedmedia works featuring Abul Kalam Azad, Deidi Von Schaewen, Hitendra Singh, Manish Nai, N.Ramachandran, Siddharth, Sudhir Pandey.

The myriad connections between fact and belief, history and mythology, structure and chaos and ultimately between the self and other form the starting point for exhibition “Myth and Superstition”. The artists in this exhibition explore various aspects of the myth ranging from the personal to the political to elaborate on the multiple facets of age-old beliefs.

Carl Jung famously wrote about the ‘collective unconscious’ or a collective human psyche that manifests itself across cultures through archetypal figures such as the mother or the hero. As against the universality of these figures, Siddharth weaves a private mythology populated by feminine forms and amorphous vegetal shapes. Epics, mythology, poetry and indigenous ballads are sources of inspiration for him and he interprets these using a stylized language. His application of colour has the subtlety and evocativeness of a dream as he combines elements from diverse sources such as thankga painting, South Indian art and oriental traditions. Through his sophisticated visual language and material handling, Siddharth creates a magical world pervaded by peace and serenity. While Siddharth creates personal narratives, Hitendra Singh Bhatti and Rajarajan straddle the public and the private, the mythical and the real. Hitendra Singh Bhatti uses a vivid visual language to engage with themes that reflect the Indian cultural ethos. While he transforms familiar images into vehicles of personal expression, Rajarajan interlinks the contemporary with the world of myth and magic using a visual language that is rooted in the rural yet is of the present. N.Ramachandran takes these explorations a step further by providing a panoptic view of various worlds ranging from the mythical and childlike to the real.

Unlike history that creates linear memories, the beauty of mythicized accounts is the space they offer for catharsis. This is evident in Manish Nai’s works with jute. Jute has a special place in his art and life because his father had a jute manufacturing business which had to be later wound up, so the material is redolent both of nostalgia and hurt. He uses this material to refer to his roots and to his present as an artist. Like Manish Nai whose works are rooted in personal history, Abul Kalam Azad’s works are based on photographs of Kerala, a state known for its traditions of myth, magic and rituals and for its politically aware populace. Azad merges the two aspects of his homeland together through amorphous digitally modified spaces that refer to the fluid political structures in the country and its commonality with the unpredictability of myth.

Sudhir Pandey engages with the aspect of the mythical in contemporary life and probes into the relevance of faith in today’s contemporary world. Using man-made materials such as plastics, cardboard along with photographs, astrology charts, viscous red drips of wax and threads, he creates a pictorial surface that refers to India’s cultural life as well as to the contemporary. Through this Pandey makes the viewer dwell on the unpredictability of life where despite the advance of technology man is forced to take refuge in unseen powers. While Pandey literally focuses on the veiled presence of myth and belief in everyday life, Diedi von Schaewen focuses on the omnipresence of the transcendent in the mundane world. Photographing tree shrines in India, she highlights the visual and cultural accretions that transform everyday objects into symbols of transcendental power. In some ways her works also make one ponder on the profound messages such as environmentalism embedded in oft-repeated myths and beliefs.

The exhibition runs through November 28, 2014.
Venue: The Lodhi
Address: Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003
Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm
Nearest Transport: Lodhi Hotel Bus Stop

ARTSOME

November 2014