Critics’ Picks

DIY Monument, 2007, wood, enamel paint, and screen print, dimensions variable.

DIY Monument, 2007, wood, enamel paint, and screen print, dimensions variable.

Mumbai

Tushar Joag

Chemould Prescott Road
G. Talwatkar Marg, Fort Queens Mansion, Floor 3
January 12–January 31, 2008

A sign on the gallery’s entrance wall includes text that reads NO COUNTRY/STATE SHOULD BUILD ANY MONUMENT ON THEIR OWN. Tushar Joag makes this appeal on behalf of the fictitious organization he founded, the UNICELL International Department of Monuments and Edifices. One of Mumbai’s most politically engaged artists, Joag has constructed an arena with bleachers that surround several unusually colorful “monuments” intended for use from afar by all nations: Regime Change (all works 2007), Dry Run, and Curtain Wall and Cell. On the walls around the sculptures are large comics that portray an alter ego of the artist speaking to an attentive audience about the political and religious instrumentalization of monuments, edifices, and icons. Joag further addresses this issue with “Debris Morte,” a series of three assemblages, mounted on the walls of a side room, whose burned wood and ink markings are meant to reference the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya by Hindu nationalists in 1992. With comics and sculptures, as well as with a video about Gandhi’s assassination—and the attacks on the nonviolent leader’s ideological and political beliefs—Joag presents a sharp analysis of the politicization of culture and everyday life.