Exhibitions > 2010 > Mad Furnitures And Psychic Objects - Part I

C.K. RAJAN, Stalker Knife, wood and iron, 2010, 59.5 x 206 cm / 23.4 x 81.1 in


The blade of an axe head painted red with a yellow line along its tip mounted in a green handle. But the handle refuses to remain straight as an axe handle should, and instead spirals uncontrollably, looping around the blade and finishing off in an oval that gives it the appearance of a hieroglyphic snake. An old fashioned ceiling mounted fan slung low, its blades extending into alarming protuberances like swords. A sickle laid flat on the ground its blade painted red and its handle blue, a circular wooden counter placed at the base transforming the whole ensemble into a question mark. Along with an outsized metal ladle with kinks in its tail, a zigzagging pick axe and a bendy shovel, these are some of the works in C.K. Rajan's current exhibition, works which present everyday tools and household appliances, repositioned, remodelled and in various other different ways estranged from themselves. Most immediately they register as visual gags, a form of punning that elaborates on the comic potential of things to mutate in our imagination in the way animated cartoons conjure to life inanimate objects and give them intelligence and mobility.

But while these works contain humour, presumably they are not there simply to entertain. One could consider for example the fact that the artist has chosen to make sculptures based on tools, suggesting a social reading for them as the implements used by workers under certain conditions, so that they come to have class associations, related to subsistence agriculture or construction. Or think of their slightly archaic character as tools of the sort used prior to industrialisation, and now used alongside mechanised processes within particular economies.

One can imagine Rajan's current sculptures when placed in the gallery, laid out perhaps on a floor of polished concrete, also assuming the character of individual elements in a colourful painterly composition – being form without function. They might stretch and contort and change themselves into curious and pleasing compositions with the precociousness of everyday objects that wish to become art.


C.k. Rajan