Hues of presence... and absence

Artist Harsh Kumar’s Japanese ink artworks explored the canvas through binary colours whereas two smaller artworks brought in a profusion of colour.
Last Updated : 30 June 2024, 03:51 IST

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The recently concluded 'Mute/Unmute' exhibition by various artists at the Method Kala Ghoda in Mumbai explored how our perceptions and anticipations colour our concepts of presence and absence. As many as 31 artworks by artists across the country experimented with colours and hues, textures and mediums, and compelled viewers to think deeply about the influence colour (or the absence of it) has on the meanings we derive from experiences and how muting or unmuting certain elements can bring about a world of difference in our understanding. 

“The curation did not allude to unmuting the mute. It was just a play on words to describe the choice of how to present an imagery. Sometimes we have to mute certain aspects of something to bring other things into focus, while other times the focus can only happen when things are unmuted,” explained Sahil Arora, founder and curator of Method. “The idea was to exhibit emerging artists. We spent time finding the right artists to speak to the theme. Some artists have used black and white, together with shades of grey and others have played with vibrant colour palettes.” Artist Harsh Kumar’s Japanese ink artworks explored the canvas through binary colours whereas two smaller artworks brought in a profusion of colour. “I tried to show my subject in a simplified manner as I think that art is inherent in the collective consciousness of humans, and it does not need a language to define it,” said Harsh, adding that the real impetus comes from the subconscious mind.

Then there were explorations into the ideas of perception, daily existence, and experiences with the artists bringing in a sense of depth and dimension, illustrating the current socio-political scenario and getting inspired from their personal environments in different parts of India.

Artists Harsh Kumar and Kritika Goel brought in the cultural nuances from New Delhi; Shweta Urane from the cosmopolitan environs of Mumbai, Nilanjan Das from the heart of Odisha in Bhubaneswar; Satyanarayan Gavara from art-centric Baroda; Samiran Dey from Kolkata, Pulak K Sarkar from the holy city of Varanasi, and Sandeep Parmar and Anikesa from the desert state of Rajasthan.

The exhibition also stood out for the multitude of mediums on display. Artist Kritika Goel painted on mirrors; Shweta Urane painted handwoven traditional ghongadi fabric; Sandeep Parmar created interesting shadowboxes using watercolours and tempura paper; and Satyanarana Gavara worked on engraved wood. “I use neon colours in my drawings creatively to highlight the aspects of life that have caught my attention,” says Shweta, explaining her leaning towards a bright colour palette.

The crowded landscape in Anikesa Dhing’s Politician’s Breakfast, the calm in Nilanjan Das’ In Search of a Comfort Zone, the rush of entwined limbs around the tree trunk in Samiran Dey’s The Harmonious Life… all were artworks which initiated conversations and dimmed the din at multiple levels, allowing the viewer to quietly sift and sieve through their own ruminations. Satyanarayana Gavara prodded the viewers to think with his stunning Intelligence of Innocence, while Sandeep Parmar’s layered colourful contexts made for a great contrast with the ‘comfort zone’ portrayed by Nilanjan Das.

“Curation is a slow simmer and the curation for the exhibition began last year during the Students Biennale in Kochi,” says Sahil. Prod him to pick a startling artwork from this collection and he pipes up, “Shweta Urane had two works in the show: The first was called Fabric of Life_Factory Workers, which showed three people weaving. The second was Fabric of Life_Woman Worker with Child which was painted on the fabric (a traditional ghongadi) made by the factory workers depicted in the first artwork. Ghongadi is a regional name given to a khadi blanket which is handspun and handwoven in pure desi wool produced by shepherds living in rural Maharashtra.”

Published 30 June 2024, 03:51 IST

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