Exhibitions > 2010 > BLACK & WHITE

KANISHKA RAJA, Nine Ten, 2007, pencil on paper 109 x 127 cm, 43 x 50 inches


Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke is pleased to announce Black and White, a selection of works by V. S. Gaitonde,Akbar Padamsee, Dayanita Singh, A. Ramachandran, Sudhir Patwardhan, Mrinalini Mukherjee, N. S. Harsha, Jyothi Basu, Juul Kraijer, Tejal Shah, C. K. Rajan, Kanishka Raja, Sarika Mehta and Buddhadev Mukherjee.

G"Black and white" is a shapeshifter of a phrase. In the English language, it describes a situation that is straightforward and without ambiguity. The science of colour, on the other hand, offers a far more complex definition of black and white. It is considered monochrome, or one colour, because black is actually the void that remains when there is no colour. In contrast, white is the perfect balance of the primary colours blue, red and green. "Black and white" then is a phrase that brings together the contradiction of absence and presence existing together.

GIn art, "black and white" can be a basic starting point as well as the culmination of one's artistry. The simple-lined black and white drawing is the starting point of most paintings but the lines may also be a completed drawing that needs no further embellishment of colour or paint. It makes possible stark contrasts as well as the subtleties of shadows and greys. It can be stark, romantic, abstract, realistic and/or fantastical.

The works in Black and White are examples of the versatility that this palette of one colour has offered to some of Indian art's most gifted artists. Rather than an emptiness, black is transformed into a colour of myriad shades. It is dense as a star-less night sky in N.S. Harsha's drawings and a solid mass made to yield into unlikely forms in Juul Kraijer and Mrinalini Mukherjee's sculptures. Dayanita Singh and Tejal Shah's photographic works show black dissemble into shades of grey. The shadows that slip between black and grey and white lend romanticism to Singh's frames and an ominous melancholia to Shah's recreation of vintage photographs showing hysteria patients. The same colours are distinct in Kanishka Raja's work and though each geometric strip of colour is fixed to its spot, as white turns to grey to black and back to grey and white, the pencil- drawn shapes become a whirling, kaleidoscopic pattern. Black is smudged into shadows in the fantastical drawings of Jyothi Basu and a dynamic, shifting palette in V.S. Gaitonde's painting. A. Ramachandran uses different shades of black to create texture and add depth to an apparently simple drawing. It's a wraith of colour in Akbar Padamsee's painting while C.K. Rajan's collages show black as grainy, faded newsprint. Black's boldness gives a monumental strength to Sudhir Patwardhan's thick, unwavering lines and a menace to Buddhadev Mukherjee's drawings. Yet the same colour can be delicate as a sapling when used by Sarika Mehta.

Whatever the medium or the mood black and white is being used to convey, monochrome demands the artist displays command over their technique, clarity of focus and restraint in a work.


A. Ramachandran, Kiki Smith Amongst Others, Sudhir Patwardhan