regular-article-logo Friday, 08 December 2023

Open wounds

Explore Radhika Agarwala, Riddhibrata Burman and Viraag Desai's poetic vision at Art Exposure till June 30

Rita Datta Published 04.06.22, 02:35 AM

This is the wounded skin of the earth — layered, rugged, textured with corrosions, fissures, pits, striations and scabs in a wrestle of patinas: browns, gold, and darker tones. Radhika Agarwala’s Studies in Debris Displacement maps, on miniature brass plates, palpable tectonic turmoil. Exploring a wide spectrum, Riddhibrata Burman presents the tactile thingness of matter in prints like Conception I and II as a counterpoint to the tenuous luminosity of space in Drishti. The clusters of cloned figures that cling to and claw at tall statues in Viraag Desai’s Body Politic I and II, are suggestive of human culpability in what appears as a narrative of Memory Leaves: the memory that nestles in the folds of the earth, permeating the rhizome from which roots sprout forth. A poetic vision that the three artists meditate upon in the show on view at Art Exposure till June 30.

Agarwala’s etching scripts microcosms of geological episodes that define, in their raw flux, an epic trail of weathering. For her installation, Untangling the Debris as it Flies Away, mangled pieces from a fallen banyan, cast in brass, are arranged in concentric circles on a wall, mimicking the centrifugal motion triggered by explosions (picture, right). This process of renewal from rubble hints at the continuity of contingent cycles that the conceit of Nataraj embodies.


A sensuous, buoyant romanticism informs photographer Burman’s sensibility. He revels in the wonder of seeds, pebbles, grass, foam, biomorphic shapes, colours and the indefinable magic of light in space which turns the mundane into the transcendental. His darkroom experiments with photograms are like watercolour sketches in their spry, lyrical spontaneity (picture, left).

3D printing gives Desai the freedom to build complex forms and structures in resin, the most elegant of which is Overture. However, the footnote to his works is a chastening testament. There’s bounty in Nature’s shelter he seems to say in Halcyon and Progeny. But man, the parasite and plunderer, cannot but grab and gobble it all up. And that’s the troubling refrain that stays with the viewer.

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