#1 “He entered shop after shop, priced nothing, spoke no word, and looked at all objects with a wild and vacant stare.” - Edgar Allan Poe (The Man of The Crowd, 1850), quoted by Barbara Kruger (Untitled, 2008)
#2 “Above all of the rewards we got from collecting art is knowing the artists and understanding them.” - Dorothy Vogel (born 1935, ‘Proletarian Art Collector’)
These words above perhaps best sum up the two most significant points in the journey of art collectors, coming aboard and coming of age, and this exhibition, in its second edition, promises to meet them right in the middle. The word ’Young’ in the marquee refers to collectors who are young not in years but in a way a night is young; nascent, yet full of exciting promises. Though the eleven artists in this exhibition, Abul Hisham, Amol Patil, Anand Kumar, Anindita Chakraborty, Arundhati Saikia, P S Jalaja, Poorvesh Patel, Reshma Nair, Rupali Patil, Shalaka Patil and Viramgami Sanket, are young in the conventional sense, their works are wise beyond their years, both in content and form. These eleven barely-thirties are neither united by their future sale-ability, nor by their current trend-ability but by their courage of speaking out, loud and clear, each in multiple tongues. The rough edges around their work are the loose wires and active chemicals reaching out to you to close the circuit and complete the bond. Welcome to the laboratory. You are invited to pair up and start small fires.
Abul Hisham (Born 1987 in Kerala, lives and works in Hyderabad)
A violent reaction to power is the obvious reading of Abul Hisham’s work, but what’s not so obvious is that the artist is equally interested in the aftermath of violence. With his telling use of burnt coconut coir (which looks like burnt hair) and cotton gauge (used in bandages), he emphasises that violence does not end with the act itself. While the beheaded demigods and de-limbed emperors remind us the laughable pointlessness that accompanies any violence.
Amol Patil (Born 1987 in Mumbai, lives and works in Mumbai)
Memory is the one tangled thread that runs through all of Amol Patil’s work, whether its his deceased grandfather’s bed imprinted with body memory or the echo of his father’s performative genes in his own performative inclinations, shown through the two interconnected cassette tapes from each man. The vigorously rotating spindle of hair was born from a bothersome memory and turned into a potent one.
Anand Kumar (Born 1986 in Karnataka, lives and works in Hyderabad and Bengaluru)
Anand Kumar’s installation with rangoli powder and other assorted forms of earth seems to be in preparation for a ritual, which seems to be auspicious and ominous in equal parts. This specific installation, born out of a particularly aggravating studio mishap has an undercurrent of loss, with hope thrown in for good measure. The most ephemeral work of this exhibition is also one of its most ambiguous.
Anindita Chakraborty (Born 1986 in Tripura, lives and works in Hyderabad)
Anindita Chakraborty knows the emotive and explosive power hair holds, especially her own. In three of her illusionistic self-portraits she had gone ahead and tangled it with dreams, personal history and accessories borrowed from her other selves. The neo-classical European masters might inform her technique but her fascination with elaborate costumes and multiple selves are uniquely Indian.
Arundhati Saikia (Born 1988 in Assam, lives and works in Baroda)
Arundhati Saikia’s pictorial language starts in the Assam miniature, a tradition arguably as old as Jain manuscript paintings and revived in the fifteenth century, but doesn’t stop there. It prowls around and ingests all other miniature styles across time and space, effortlessly. A leogryph stands above Vasuki the ur-serpent, a blue Mahavidya wears a hornbill headdress and painted Egyptian walls open out to an Islamic door. Every protagonist, prop and even the perspective in her theatrical painted space is a hybrid. But the sutures are lost in the painted silk.
P. S. Jalaja (Born 1983 in Kerala, lives and works in Kochi)
P. S. Jalaja’s works demand that you zoom in and zoom out your vision simultaneously to take all of it in. Combining the careful compositions of neo-classical war paintings with the raw edge of war and riot photographs, the artist questions whether the individual has much chance against the collective. She takes great care in showing the ubiquity of oppression across nations and ethnicities by making the perpetrators’ skins and clothing as diverse as possible yet keeping their expressions hauntingly alike.
Poorvesh Patel (Born 1988 in Gujarat, lives and works in Baroda)
At first look, Poorvesh Patel’s triptych resembling tilled red earth with ‘sprouts’ denies meaning-making. It dovetails neatly with his farming ancestry and one is further dissuaded with the artist’s reluctance to wax eloquent about it. But when you come to know that the redness signifies the lethally high iron content in our farming soil and those sprouts are barren copper wires green with patina, meanings sprout. We come face to face with the land under our feet, and it has whispers louder than any ‘Save the Earth’ sloganeering.
Reshma Nair (Born 1990 in Kerala, lives and works in Baroda)
Reshma Nair evokes the meditative in mundane objects and found faces. By exploring slightly different versions of the same face or an object with varied brush strokes, her string of canvases defeat distraction the same way a rosary does. The canvases don’t deny their photographic origins but her painterly skill conceals and clarifies the punctum at the same time.
Rupali Patil (Born 1984 in Pune, lives and works in Mumbai)
What attracted Rupali Patil to silk is the translucence and the ambiguity that comes with it. But then that layered ambiguity travelled from the medium to her etchings: silhouette of a tree which might be nature either in past or present tense, a presence in the sky that could be a moon or a hole, and a baby goat that’s both pet and dinner, the layers are all there, for those willing to explore.
Shalaka Patil (Born 1980 in Mumbai, lives and works in Mumbai)
Shalaka Patil insists that the forms and the colours in her paintings refer to nothing other than themselves. If there is a theme lurking behind the angular flotsams in her primary-coloured spaces, it would be a loss of identity in a void. But our eyes keep making up their own minds: a hint of contour maps here, a suggestion of constellations there and perhaps, just perhaps, a thin membrane of her worldview informed by her intent study of myths.
Sanket Viramgami (Born 1988 in Gujarat, livess and works in Baroda)
After one’s eyes adjust to the skill and the scale of Sanket Viramgami’s works, what stands out is how he uses colour to bridge all the disparate styles he draws from - Kantha and various schools of miniature paintings. The stories come together, denying their origins as well - Panchatantra rubs shoulders with vignettes of his lived experiences in a city, leaving space for childhood memories. The narrative is alive and well.
- Sourav Roy, Mumbai 2013