TASTELESS, ODOURLESS, NONETHELESS
The gallery doors stay closed. No entry. Quarantine. The space remains empty, alone, visible only through the thick glass of the window – sanitized, virtualized. Through its sheer visibility, the gallery becomes a liminal space and, walking this fine line, the artworks challenge the division between private and public space, between political and intimate.
Just outside of the gallery, like a mirror of the space beyond the glass, is With regards, family and friends by Yogesh Barve. Inspired by sociologists like W.E.B. du Bois and the language of data visualization, the marks on the pavement transpose the per capita residential area in Bombay and the living space per body in the city. By letting passersby interact with the scale of the spaces, Barve makes the public experience the data physically instead of conceptually.
The sound of the 5th December protest in Paris – the beginning of one of the longest national strikes in French history – fills the empty space of the gallery and spills into the street. Through a genuine “performativity of listening” and the act of walking, Niccolò Moscatelli injects a narrative in the record and a dynamic that goes constantly from the collective to the individual and back. The bodies of the people are absent, evaporated by harsher and harsher laws and the sanitary state of emergency that condemned the public practice of politics. Still, the voices, the laughs, the screams, songs and chants are still audible, – like the ghost of a protest, ensemble, marche, proteste resists the passing and disappearance.
Visible through the glass screen, Anno Domini by Saviya Lopes appropriates some of Artemisia Gentileschi’s biblical scenes portraying women and turns them into memes critiquing the male domination of public space. Taking from her own experience and from scholar Shilpa Phadke’s work around loitering, Lopes gives these women active agency and makes them defy the men surrounding them. At the same time, the work questions the “publicness” of public space for women, from biblical times, to the Renaissance until today.
While having an immense impact on our world, the actual context is not the cause of the issues the works touch, from the suppression of political freedom and democracy, to the policing of women’s bodies in the urban environment, to the overcrowding and housing conditions in our metropoles and many others. Today they are simply exacerbated, stretched to the extreme.
Saviya Lopes(1994) lives and works in Vasai, Bombay, India.
Lopes’ graduating research thesis took the form of a confession in which she confronts various identities. Her works articulate a hypocrisy that we are well versed with but refuse to shed often using the cudgels of culture. She works in the context of feminism and its interventions of visual vocabulary in conceptual practice and thoroughly puts through an idea for the political. She often works with the histories of the place in which she lives as well as with her own family archives; drawing upon activities such as tapestry weaving by her grandmother as manifestations of dissent. Through the conceptualization of quilt drawings and the actual materialization of cloths, she questions the reduction of femininity to motherhood in our patriarchal society. She investigates the symbols of motherhood analyzing the forms of the primitives Venuses and the female sex as the birth-giving fruit. She uses her drawings to reject religious misogyny, but also to humour the norms of patriarchy.
Yogesh Barve lives and works in Mumbai, India. He studied Leather Technology at the Polytechnic College, Mumbai, from 2005-08; and Fine Arts at Rachana Sansad AFAC, Mumbai, from 2009-14.
His artistic practice ranges from painting and printing to sculpture, film, multimedia installations and site-specific works. He is currently working on a Dalit Poetry and Literature channel on YouTube. While stylistically varied, a common thread throughout his work is a critique of cultural frameworks of thinking. He uses the idea of the backslash in the form of un/learning, de/constructing and non/conformism as thinking and working methods. Utilising a range of materials including found objects, participatory technologies such as his mobile phone cam and game engines, he opens up new aesthetic views that deal with social phenomena such as inequality, irrationality the unseen or the in/outsider.
Niccolo Moscatelli is a curator and an artist. His research focuses on urban public spaces and their politics, the control of urbanism over the population, and gestures of quotidian resistance. His works and performances are often ephemeral and sometimes intentionally undocumented, making the disappearance of the act and of the artist a mode of existential investigation. Walking as an aesthetic and political practice is an essential pillar of his work as well as visual poetry and calligraphic practices.
He is a member and co-founder of polynome, a curatorial collective reflecting on practices of democracy in the late capitalist era. After working with Clark House Initiative for the public art project TAKE / THE / CITY, he joined the artists union.
Clark House Initiative is a curatorial collective and artist union based in Mumbai. Ideas of freedom and strategies of equality have informed their work, while experiments in re-reading of histories, and concerns of representation and visibility, are ways to imagine alternative economies and politics.
Contact: +91 9637443410 | +91 9892640353 | +91 8108410689
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