‘Parsec’ at Gallery Ark encompasses multiple story lines and histories
With the last commercial exhibition Parsec that begins today, Vadodara-based Gallery Ark announces its transition into their new role as the Ark Foundation. The exhibition has brought together 19 artists, including senior stalwarts like KG Subramanyam, Jyoti Bhatt and Rekha Rodwittiya along with young artists such as Alexander Gorlizki, Roshan Chhabria and Teja Gavankar among others.
“The artists featured in our closing exhibition are many such individuals, without whose inputs, I believe our journey and vision would have looked rather different. With this exhibition, I hope to acknowledge their contribution, to celebrate their kind friendships, and to give thanks,” says show curator Nupur Dalmia who is the director of the gallery.
“As Gallery Ark’s ﬁnal exhibition, Parsec will attempt to bookend and commemorate many journeys – those of Gallery Ark, its patrons, its team and as well mine – that have truly inspired our conviction in Ark’s future vision. The exhibition therefore, is envisioned as a manner of honoring the individuals that have played signiﬁcant roles in molding my experience of working in the industry, and have as well contributed to the dream that is my vision for the Ark Foundation,” she adds.
Talking about the unusual title Parsec, Dalmia informs that Parsec is a unit measure of distance, equal to 3.26 lightyears – the distance that light would travel in 3.26 earth years, in a vacuum. “I thought it a ﬁtting title for a show that wants to encompass multiple story lines and histories, but equally wants to allude to future and imagined dreams,” she says adding Parsec refers to the dreams that travel astronomical distances by way of geography, or travel in time, or likewise as markers of progress and life experience. “It also represents the expansive histories that we carry in memory and those we experience in the stories told by another. The show likewise alludes to the parallaxes in individual art viewership that are necessarily unique, and indeed also to the metaphorical parallax of time and distance itself,” says Dalmia.
While I move fairly ﬂuidly between ﬁgurative and abstract imagery, even the most narrative works are intended to be open-ended, inviting the viewer to construct their own meaning. My hope is that the work itself may evolve over time in the viewer’s mind.
The works were done at the beginning of the pandemic. It made me think of life in the context of the whole universe. What matters was the meaning of a few moments in the many million light-years. This must have reﬂected in what I was doing.
The images presented in Sci-ﬁ Drawings are copies of drawings that appeared in popular science ﬁction ﬁlms. Within each of the selected ﬁlms, the drawing was originally created by an artiﬁcial intelligence and the act of drawing performs a variety of roles – from expressing creativity to recording dreams. My act of re-drawing these images becomes a way of bringing these diverse intentions and images under the authorship of a single individual – one that is human, but one that ultimately fails in representing the drawings even remotely as well as his A.I. counterparts.
India never will allow me to ferment in the sleep of my own desires; but keeps me ever wakeful to a consciousness that embroiders patterns that decorate my body and my soul, and anoints me as the bride of its soil. Born wrapped in the placenta of many cultures I breathe a life of knowingness uniquely different from those with chaste tongues of scriptures and divides. From the gullies and shanties dark shadows pattern the cities like fake lace of a bridal gown, whilst the wail of sirens block out the screams of the innocent whose spilt blood are the only reminders of their vanquished dreams. Legacies of a past cannot hold the brace of my spine upright, nor does the stoop of my weariness ﬁnd me my bed of comfort. As my body wrinkles and my breasts become heavy with the stories of all those I carry close to my heart, I listen wakeful ever, just for the smallness of hope.
When you ﬁnd yourself in enforced isolation of the kind we had undergone you realise nothing can be taken for granted. The Soliloquy series was born out of the desire to keep the communication going, even if it means talking to oneself!
One of the works I am showcasing in Parsec, was made way back in 2016-17. I like to call it a drawing. While it does the surface seems to be heavily worked upon, calling it a drawing liberates me with a sense of freedom to test, and translate onto the canvas, all my observations. For instance, while painting the work, I was channeling my thoughts on the Austrian painter, Egon Schiele – my references were not only limited to formalistic aspects of his style, but also attempted to draw from the subjective expressions of character that his subjects seem to project so dramatically.
The exhibition will be on view till May 31 at Gallery Ark, 1 Krishna Industrial Estate, BIDC Gorwa, Vadodara.