October 18th to November 22nd, 2014 Rohini Devasher, Naiza Khan, Riyas Komu, Saravanan Parasuraman
Drawings, Landscapes, Dreams: The works of four artists converge on these reference points in a variety of media: video, print-making, installation, photography, watercolor. The Latin title for the show translates as “Even in Arcadia, there am I,” referring to the contrast between the ever-present shadow of death and the idle pleasures of Utopia. The medium of drawing is explored in multiple directions, anchored to the terrain and consequently acting as an examination of the artist’s place within the world, be it utopian or dystopian. The artistic antecedents hovering in the air will be robust, from the neo-classical paintings of Nicolas Poussin, the Dada constructions of Kurt Schwitters, and the neo-expressionism of Jean-Michel Basquiat, while the works also engage with multiple scientific disciplines.
Rohini Devasher (born 1978, based in New Delhi) will present works on paper (lithographs, etchings, and drawings) that explore cartography and its relationship to organic and biological systems. Combining science with aesthetics, Devasher’s works are inspired by satellite imagery, remote sensing and the equivalence of matter and energy.
In her video from 2010 entitled “Homage” Naiza Khan (born 1968, based in Karachi) demarcates a found assemblage of used furniture as her own, reclaiming detritus as aesthetically valuable. We witness the artist constructing an architectonic folly on the beach by the use of color alone, appropriation art meeting Art Brut. Khan’s watercolour paintings explore the fine line between utopia and dystopia, the dissolution of boundaries between nature and civilization.
In his recent video entitled “The Last Wall,” Riyas Komu (born 1971, based in Mumbai) follows a homeless man as he wanders the streets of Mumbai, eventually returning each night to a patch of pavement and the adjoining wall he has made his own. Here, he creates a masterwork of draughtsmanship, filling it with a private symbology, challenging preconceived artistic parameters of “naive” and “sophisticated.” Komu’s subject is the paradigmatic Psychopomp, a mediator between the realms of the conscious and the unconscious, between day and night. Komu is Co- Founder and Co- Curator of the Kochi Murzis Biennale.
Saravanan Parasuraman (born 1982, based in Chennai) uses steel ball bearings as the genetic material of his sculptural works. His topographic investigations are both landscapes and abstractions, shimmering mirages that hover between the solid and the liquid. His graphite drawings use logos and emoticons as their pixels, resembling the oscillations and arcing streams of sub-atomic particles.