Kamayani Sharma

  • Seher Shah, Ruined Score (#15), 2022, graphite and charcoal on paper, 11 x 14"
    picks May 25, 2022

    Seher Shah

    Three days after Seher Shah’s show opened in New Delhi, Muslim-owned shops and a mosque in a northern neighborhood of the city were illegally bulldozed by the Hindu-nationalist-BJP-led municipal corporation. This act of politically motivated urban destruction lends an intense charge to an exhibition oriented around architectural forms and archaeological heritage.

    Play with negative space and dystopian themes have long been part of Shah’s practice. “Notes from a City Unknown,” 2021, is a series of thirty-two screen prints of monochromatic diagrams accompanied by lyrical annotations seemingly

  • Chaitanya Tamhane, The Disciple, 2020, DCP, color, sound, 129 minutes. Guruji (Arun Dravid) and Sharad (Aditya Modak).
    film May 27, 2021

    Self Composed

    CHAITANYA TAMHANE’S WORK is gaining momentum. His directorial debut, Court (2015), a meditation on the banal evil of India’s judicial system, was praised for challenging the ideological conventions of the legal drama through static shots and long takes. No fast cut, close-up-heavy procedural is staged inside the courtroom; no dramatic monologues are delivered; justice is not served. Tamhane’s second feature, The Disciple (2020), while more kinetic in its camerawork (by Michal Sobociniski), proceeds at a similarly measured pace. Its narrative—about the existential journey of Sharad (Aditya Modak),

  • Jitish Kallat, Circadian Study (contact tracing), 2020, graphite and aquarelle pencil, stained gesso, organic gum,16 x 20 1/2".
    picks November 16, 2020

    Jitish Kallat

    The punning parenthetical in the title of Jitish Kallat’s virtual exhibition “Circadian Study (contact tracing)” alludes to both its predominant medium, drawing, and, with the now-familiar term for identifying routes of infection, pandemic time. Specifically, Kallat explores how the Covid-19 crisis has affected the rhythms of our species’ way of life, how lockdown has rendered the passage of day and night somewhat otiose as a chronological marker.

    The eponymous suite of graphite and aquarelle “contact tracings” consists of red and green outlines of twigs’ shadows, a record of the sun’s daily

  • Tara Kelton, Brittany, 2019, oil on linen, 13 x 10"
    picks February 12, 2020

    Tara Kelton

    Tara Kelton’s Brittany in the Pool, 2020, features a blown-up image of Brittany Kaiser, who helped blow the whistle on the Cambridge Analytica data breach,  hidden in plain sight on the gallery’s multi-panelled aluminium sliding doors. Her face disappears behind one of the metal partitions, the polyptych dominated by the blue water in which she luxuriates. An eponymous oil painting of Kaiser’s face hangs on the opposite wall, as though the use of “traditional” painterly technology could render her more real.

    In the case of the “Guided Tours” films, 2014–, the physical presence of camerapersons

  • Chittaprosad, Untitled, 1947, brush, pen and ink on paper.
    picks October 21, 2019

    “Common Course”

    The four artists in this exhibition deploy colloquial, widely circulated forms of graphic representation such as cartoons, caricatures, and illustrations to report, critique, or lampoon current Indian affairs from this century and the last. The tonal and political variety between the artists’ output is considerable, a fact offset by curator Roobina Karode’s decision to partition each oeuvre by section. Midcentury communist Chittaprosad’s trenchant pen-and-ink drawings and linocuts about colonial horror, bourgeois tyranny, and poverty have an urgent, documentary aspect. A 1946 work, depicting a

  • Anand Patwardhan, Vivek (Reason), 2018, color, sound, 261 minutes.
    film June 20, 2019

    Reason Being

    IN A NORTH INDIAN VILLAGE, a Muslim man is lynched to death after being accused of storing beef in his fridge. Consuming beef is not only prohibited in orthodox Hinduism but it is outlawed in many states of Hindu-dominated India. Framed sitting on a bed in his courtyard, the victim’s Hindu neighbor justifies this grisly murder. Off-camera, we hear the filmmaker point out that the government later ran forensic tests on the meat in the man’s fridge and confirmed that it was mutton, not beef. The neighbor is adamant: “How we can just believe that?”

    This is a scene from Vivek (Reason), the latest

  • Sheila Makhijani, So much for now, 2018, oil on canvas, 68 x 84″.
    picks April 12, 2019

    Sheila Makhijani

    In Sheila Makhijani’s exhibition “This That and The Other,” a disarray of strange, vibrant objects lies before the viewer, as if they were artifacts from some underwater civilization revealed by the ebb. The glazed and unglazed ceramics of All over the Place, 1994, resemble clothes irons, shells, and teeth. Their bright colors are a distinctive feature of Makhijani’s work and imbue her abstract paintings with a kinetic charge.

    The large oil canvases, for instance, scream havoc. The vantage of In front of me, 2018, seems to be from inside a volcano, looking up mid-eruption, and So much for now,

  • picks March 08, 2018

    Alwar Balasubramaniam

    Though described in the show’s catalogue essay as a “departure” from his practice, the works on display in Alwar Balasubramaniam’s exhibition are fairly representative of his long-standing interest in exploring surfaces and negative space. He uses an eclectic range of media––fiberglass, cotton, terra-cotta, enamel, soil, wood, cement, acrylic, iron, oil, resin, graphite, aluminum, marble, and sandstone––to interpret the effects of the environment on human artistry.

    The tension between the intentional and the organic is apparent in an untitled work from 2017, a large multicolored blot made using

  • Dileep Prakash, Untitled, 2008, pigment print, 12 x 15”.
    picks February 21, 2018

    Dileep Prakash

    The otherworldliness of Dileep Prakash’s black-and-white photographs of moonlit forests and bungalows is intensified by the way the works are generously spaced throughout this wide-walled gallery. In “Sleeping in the Forest,” his third exhibition in this venue, Prakash presents a series featuring British-era rest houses and the Himalayan jungles in which they were built. The prints (all Untitled, 2007–2016) loom large, their size befitting the architectural and arboreal solidity on display.

    These bungalows made an impression on Prakash when he stayed in them as a child, and he has been photographing

  • picks January 04, 2018

    Tanya Goel

    In her first solo exhibition in New Delhi, “This, the Sublime and its Double,” Tanya Goel investigates surfaces through the language of abstraction. Goel’s practice is invested in exploring the deep histories of painterly technologies and melding them to a minimalist vocabulary based on mathematics.

    Works such as carbon (x, y) (all works cited, 2017) and semitone on multiples, made of coal, mica, aluminum, and concrete, and resembling pixelated bitmaps, pronounce tensions between form and content that are at the heart of radical abstraction. Multiple squares bring to mind sleek computer windows,

  • View of “[In]Sanity in the Age of Reason,” 2016–17.
    picks April 03, 2017

    Vibha Galhotra

    Peering through the dark glass facade of this gallery, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s still under construction. Vibha Galhotra’s “[In]Sanity in the Age of Reason” brings the detritus of unsustainable urban development into the white cube. Galhotra’s practice has long concerned itself with the rapidly transforming ecologies of cities and rivers.

    References to the artist Stanley Brouwn and climate-change expert Will Steffen are not merely theoretical here. A linoleum-based work titled Marks, 2016–17, which features footprints—as well as photos of people and vehicles leaving their

  • View of “Ether is all that is,” 2017.
    picks February 02, 2017

    G.R. Iranna

    In his latest exhibition, “Ether is all that is,” G. R. Iranna examines the fragility of life through holy ash. His interest in using religious material to ruminate on existential questions was apparent in his recent contribution to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, From Ash to Ash (all works cited, 2016), a giant egg of cinders that references the origin of the cosmos in classical Hindu philosophy. On view in this show are paintings and installations that feature the sacred residue of ancient fire-based rites, alluding to the cyclical inevitability of birth and death and the impermanence of matter,