Knitting a narrative about faceless entities

Knitting a narrative about faceless entities


Chintan Upadhyay is known for his quirkiness in artwork. 

A reminder of it is a 10-feet-high fibreglass head crafted by Chintan, displayed at the India Art Fair earlier this year. 

However, Upadhyay is currently on a different trajectory. 

For his latest solo art show, titled ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron - Redux’ at Gallery Espace from April 16 onwards, Upadhyay has used second-hand knitted garments to create a metaphor for ‘the faceless people of our city’. 

He converts the gallery space into what looks like ‘Sarojini Nagar market’ where the walls and floor of the gallery are replete with sculptural installations and photographs of faceless forms and figures in stuffed woollen garments.

 “In 2010-11, I was working in El Salvador on a residency project where I asked residents to give me their second-hand clothes.

I filled the clothes with sand and installed it on the beach. Soon the entire area looked like a land inundated with bodies.

Since, I have been working with site-specific projects for over a decade now I decided to work with hand-knitted garments once again with a different perspective this time,” says Chintan.
In all his works, whether it is wall-mounted installations created by stitching dozens of woollen clothes together, or photographs of a person whose face and entire body has been concealed with a woollen garment, or small boxes stuffed with toy-like woollen shapes, there is a sense of both the bizarre and the obvious.
“For this project I wanted to buy second hand garments and not borrow from people,” says Chintan. “The reason was that no connections could be traced back to the person who wore them. Doesn’t the city also think like this?

Do we ever want to know about those people who work for us or who live on the streets?
I want to talk about the idea of memories attached to objects in these works. These are also narratives about domestic spaces and public spaces – people we meet and see but don’t care to know,” explains Chintan.
No wonder, Upadhyay says this new body of work is also a throwback to his own childhood, one in which he saw his mother knit for both ‘passion and business’.
Interestingly, on display is a seven-feet-long sweater he has created in collaboration with his mother.
The show will be on at Gallery Espace, 16, Community Centre, New Friends Colony, from April 16 to May 31, 2014, 11 am to 7 pm. Sundays closed.