Meera Menezes

  • Ranjani Shettar, Remanence from last night’s dream, 2011–16, rosewood, lacquered wood, pigments, 72 × 50 × 35".

    Ranjani Shettar

    Echoes of the natural world reverberated through Ranjani Shettar’s solo show “Bubble trap and a double bow.” Some of the works were reminiscent of the gossamer skeins of a spiderweb; others, of lichen covering the forest floor. In How long before another turn, 2016, delicate nets spun out of polyester threads and studded with molded wax beads were suspended between gray gallery walls. These fragile bead constellations with their warm tones of pink, yellow, and orange threw delicate shadows, creating a complex interplay of tangible and immaterial lines in space. This effect recalled an earlier

  • Jitish Kallat, Epilogue, 2011, 753 ink-jet prints on paper, each 12 1/2 × 15 1/2". Installation view, 2017. Photo: Randhir Singh.

    Jitish Kallat

    IN JITISH KALLAT’S illusory world, a roti mimics the moon. This interplay between the earthly and the celestial, the material and the spiritual, was a recurring motif in his midcareer retrospective, “Here After Here.” On entering the new wing of the National Gallery of Modern Art, the visitor was confronted by a corridor flanked on both sides by row upon row of densely arranged prints; from afar, these images appeared to depict the moon’s waxing and waning. Closer examination of the work, Epilogue, 2011, revealed pieces of flatbread masquerading as the heavenly body, with more than twenty-two

  • K. M. Madhusudhanan, Parade, 2016, fiberglass, iron, rubber, 55 1/2 × 12 × 37".

    K. M. Madhusudhanan

    Joseph Stalin, a rubber horn, and a pig might seem like an incongruous mix. Yet K. M. Madhusudhanan pulled them all together in his sculpture Parade, 2016. By placing the erstwhile Soviet leader’s torso atop a creature whose name is a byword for greed and ignorance, the artist pulled down a onetime icon from his lofty pedestal. Parade is a three-dimensional rendition of an untitled 2016 charcoal drawing from Madhusudhanan’s ongoing series “The Marx Archive: Logic of Disappearance,” 2014–. In these works, five of which were on display, symbols of power from the Soviet era are depicted in a state

  • Jitish Kallat, Annexation (detail), 2009, black lead, paint, pigmented resin, steel, 72 1/8 × 59 1/8 × 51 1/4".

    “Jitish Kallat: Here After Here”

    Shortly before the start of World War II, Mahatma Gandhi wrote a passionate letter advocating peace over war. It began “Dear friend . . .” and was addressed to none other than Adolf Hitler himself. This historic epistle is projected on a screen of fog in Jitish Kallat’s immersive installation Covering Letter, 2012, which will feature among the roughly 140 works in this midcareer retrospective. Curated by Catherine David, “Here After Here” gathers together painting, photography, videos, and installations spanning twenty-five years. Organized nonchronologically, the

  • Jeram Patel, Untitled, ca. 1960, burnt wood, 19 × 25".

    Jeram Patel

    “Black has always fascinated me,” said Jeram Patel, who passed away earlier this year at the age of eighty-six. “It seems that black in itself carries many things, no one knows deposited by whom, and when.” This preoccupation hovers in the air throughout “the dark loam: between memory and membrane,” a retrospective of Patel’s work curated by Roobina Karode; it snakes its way into the various rooms of the museum, settling as soot on wooden surfaces, or as dense, dark masses on paper, or blurry, bleeding, elongated forms in Chinese ink paintings.

    Patel’s black does not evoke the oppressive darkness

  • Sudarshan Shetty, Shoonya Ghar (Empty House), 2016, HD video, color, sound, 59 minutes.
    interviews March 04, 2016

    Sudarshan Shetty

    Sudarshan Shetty is an artist who lives and works in Mumbai and is best-known for his sculptural installations addressing themes of transience, loss, regeneration, and the precariousness of life. His exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, titled “Shoonya Ghar (Empty House),” runs through March 6, 2016, and features, among other pieces, an hour-long film and a sculptural installation featuring the sets from the film.

    THE TITLE OF THE EXHIBITION, “SHOONYA GHAR,” comes from poetry by the great twelfth-century nirgun (without form) poet Gorakhnath. In his work he talks about a

  • View of “B. V. Suresh,” 2015. Photo: Babu Eshwar Prasad.

    B. V. Suresh

    The silence of the dimly lit ground-floor room was punctured by the shriek of an iron weight, suspended near the ceiling, suddenly bearing down. Luckily, its anticipated crash landing was arrested by a pad of cotton that cushioned the impact. Nearby, other weights hovered tantalizingly over cushions, their heaviness forming a curious counterpoint to the pillowy softness of the cotton. At the other end of the room, a rotating mechanical contraption reminiscent of a cotton gin cast flickering shadows on the wall as cotton shreds floated about. With these installations—respectively titled

  • Shilpa Gupta, Speaking Wall, 2016, bricks, audio, dimensions variable.
    picks February 16, 2016

    Shilpa Gupta

    “I woke up one night and was duly informed that I now lived in the fragment of another country inside a country.” This lone line on a pristine sheet of paper in Shilpa Gupta’s solo exhibition succinctly sums up the plight of people whose lives undergo dramatic changes by the often arbitrary redrawing of national borders. The untitled work from 2013 refers, in particular, to the Indian and Bangladeshi areas left behind in each other’s countries after the subcontinent’s independence from the UK.

    Gupta travelled to these enclaves, or chitmahals in Bengali, to learn firsthand of life there. The

  • Rummana Hussain, Crushed blue piece, 1992, indigo pigment, earth pigment, and charcoal on crushed paper, 19 × 29 3/4".

    Rummana Hussain

    In 1995, Rummana Hussain walked through the precincts of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai, her mouth wide open in a soundless scream. In a performance titled Living on the Margins, her first ever, she cushioned a halved papaya in her hands, revealing black seeds nestling against its creamy orange flesh. The hollow of the tropical fruit appeared to echo her gaping mouth while simultaneously evoking female genitalia. For bystanders who might, in retrospect, have wondered about the origins of this fruity symbolism, Hussain’s recent show “Breaking Skin” was strewn with plenty

  • Parul Gupta, Extending the Line, 2013, ink-jet print, 36 × 32". From the series “Extending the Line,” 2013–. From “Phenomenology of Perception,” 2015.

    “Phenomenology of Perception”

    The thread was as taut as a tightrope, showing no hint of a quiver as it wound itself past two nails and turned a corner. Not even its shadowy doppelgänger dared heave. Elsewhere, a fine crack in the wall practiced to deceive. On closer examination, it revealed itself as a thread, blending in, chameleonlike, with its surroundings. It strung onlookers along, leading them to one of Parul Gupta’s photographs. Then, as if by magic, it seemed to pop up briefly within the frame, only to vanish again.

    These spatial drawings reflect Gupta’s keen interest in observing what transpires when a line transcends

  • Daniil Galkin, Tourniquet, 2015, metal, 14 x 10 x 20'.
    picks July 20, 2015

    “Fire and Forget. On Violence”

    There is no easy access to “Fire and Forget. On Violence.” Visitors have to negotiate Daniil Galkin’s Tourniquet, 2015, a labyrinth of metal turnstiles, just to enter the exhibition space. What greets them after is an exploration of violence in its various manifestations, as ordered by the curators Ellen Blumenstein and Daniel Tyradellis, along the axes of Borders, Affect, Memory/Remembrance, and Event.

    “Fire and Forget” is a military term for weapons systems that are launched at a safe distance from the enemy that reach their target independently. But there is much in the exhibition that belies

  • Alwar Balasubramaniam, Here and There, 2015, plywood and acrylic, 24 x 24 x 13".
    picks April 02, 2015

    Alwar Balasubramaniam

    You can almost feel a swish of wind in the gentle, at times almost imperceptible, grooves throughout Alwar Balasubramaniam’s fiberglass-and-acrylic piece Wind Waves, 2012. This, among other richly textured surfaces across the artist’s works here, serves as a testimony to the play of unseen natural forces around us.

    The mixed-media work Filings in the Field, 2012, for instance, created by combining rust, chalk, glue, and acrylic on canvas, references how energy fields shape the material world. The circular arrangement of rusted material mimics magnetic field lines while also evoking memories of