Shreyas Karle

Project 88
Narayan A Sawant Road, Colaba, BMP Building, Gound Floor
January 31–March 3

View of “Shreyas Karle: Unnecessary alcove,” 2018.

A fluorescent-pink hose angles up to the ceiling only to fall back to the floor, slumping into an awkward pile. This item—Frustrated gardener, 2017—is placed opposite a two-legged terra-cotta horse pressed between two sheets of museum glass. As the title explains, it is busy Performing under pressure in the museum of broken objects, 2018. Shreyas Karle’s exhibition “Unnecessary alcove” is a museological display stripped of embellishments. The titles of the works are revealing, and if you read them quickly in sequence you end up with a verse full of hot anxiety and flat aspiration: Gap by the filler, of the filler and for the filler, 2017, / Two cuts, two joints, 2018, / Slipped, 2018, / Needless Precision, 2017, / Tile is a man-made slope, 2018.

The objects are finely crafted but not precious. Moreover, each has the potential to be overlooked: Protection for a curved corner, 2017, is a thin sleeve of toughened glass propped against an iron pillar, which is hardly any protection at all given that it appears unnervingly close to being knocked over by an unsuspecting passerby. Therapy for an abandoned piece, 2018, is simply a block of wood, flaky with wax and polish, while Rolled weight and rebellion corners, 2018, is a thin brass sheet, half unrolled, and charming in the way only the clumsy can be. The artist seems to be interested in presenting a kind of syntax, or rather artwork as syntax, coded by its internal grammar, rather than fully formed, wholly erudite works. Each piece appears in plump bursts, witty and highly strung.

— Skye Arundhati Thomas