After the hot summer, and a break timed with biennales and fairs around the world, Mumbai’s art world is sputtering back to life. Two new exhibitions open at Chemould Prescott Road this fortnight. The gallery will be divided to accommodate simultaneous solo presentations by Bhuvanesh Gowda and Ritesh Meshram. Primarily engaged in sculpture, Gowda and Meshram have previously been included in Chemould’s upcoming artists’ group shows. These are their maiden solo displays at the gallery for which they build on concepts and materials showcased in their past efforts.
Gowda continues to sculpt in wood for Pursuit of the Ridiculous. The show sees the artist address the twin themes of production of art and the production of meaning. Gowda furthers his use of word play. The Upheaval of the Double Enders, in which a mallet is carved in relief on a pedestal, is about the process of making art. “During carving, the mallet comes at the beginning and the pedestal comes right at the end during the display of a work in a gallery,” said Gowda. Through this, Gowda creates the humorous situation in which a mallet is used to create a carving of a mallet and a pedestal is not required to display a sculpture that resembles one. Gowda added, “These two objects don’t have a role in art but I am drawing attention to them by fusing them together in one image.”
The artist addresses the hidden in Black Box from a Museum, a sculpture of a female torso. Gowda suggests that the seemingly weathered figure is like an airplane’s black box, which records flight data and cockpit conversations and is meant to survive a crash. The sculpture’s physical appearance, Gowda said, functions like a record of the centuries it has witnessed. Not only does Gowda highlight the role of the sculptor but also of the individuals who may have touched the sculpture’s surface and have altered its appearance as minute as their contribution may be. The work explores eroticism and the disturbing impulse of vandalism it may give rise to.
De-molestation, a seemingly damaged sculpture of a female figure bears the conspicuous addition of a breast. The work sweeps through the broad territory of cultural preservation and historical revisionism. Through Pursuit of the Ridiculous, Gowda attempts to look past accepted realities. “I am trying to think about impossibilities. There is a limit to the possible and the logical. But the improbable and illogical provide a greater scope for the creation of art.”
Where Gowda engages in word play, Meshram has done away with titles for his assemblages. His show bears the straightforward name New Works. Inspired primarily by the city’s bazaars and its industries, Meshram has worked with metal in the past. Each of the sculptures look like machines plucked out of a factory. The haphazard character of smallscale workshops, which Meshram encounters while looking for craftsmen for his sculptures, has left its imprint on his practice. “Small businesses have their own world,” said Meshram. “They work in an improvised manner. Unlike big workshops, they have to develop things according to their own needs.” Meshram hopes to bring forth the improvised nature of small factories in his works. Though this intention isn’t entirely clear, Meshram’s sculptures evoke the appearance of a scrap shop or a junk yard, where machines that are broken or have become obsolete find acceptance.
By Zeenat Nagree on July 06 2012 7.14am