- Mar 04, 2020 - May 16, 2020
- 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Travelling Narratives brings together the unusual pairing of two artists who appear to have nothing in common on the surface yet meet in a conversation on their unique exploration of narratives and materials.
Working with the master painter Riyaz Uddin, and a small team of assistants from Jaipur Alexander Gorlizki chooses the language of miniature painting to traverse, like a possessed time traveler, many cultures and time periods. Alexander’s artworks see 10th-century roots meeting 18th-century traditions that are resurrected through 20th-century excursions, shuttling between India, Britain, and the Americas, launched as tight sharply etched projectiles, almost like spaceships of a strange world.
While there is a wild abandon of iconography that dots the works, he seems to favor plumbing becoming cacti like blooms, royal women with tennis (or is it lacrosse) rackets, animals and birds with skins that belong to some other animal or bird, and people with cabbage heads.
Semiotics seem to be turned on their head over and over, till the head gives up and surrenders to what seems like an opium induced reality.Travelling Narratives brings together the unusual pairing of two artists who appear to have nothing in common on the surface yet meet in a conversation on their unique exploration of narratives and materials.
(Excerpt from Aniket Bhagwat’s essay for ‘Otherworldly Interiors’, Alexander Gorlizki’s solo exhibition at Gallery Ark, February 2020)
Santana Gohain’s art practice is rooted in a deep exploration of texture and materiality. She plays with medium, technique and tools in the multiple layers of paint on paper to create beguiling textures that become her artworks. What start as fragile constructions on paper come to resemble stark metal, finely woven fabric, or runes in some ancient language.
Like layers of sediment that eventually form a rock, Santana’s paintings evolve into vast landscapes of texture that at once feel familiar, but also compel the viewer to think about how they came to be, and of their unnatural construction, which in fact comments on the fundamental nature of evolution and passage of time. In effect, they are a distinctly sensory experience for the viewer.
Landscapes, Textiles & Memory : Santana Gohain’s ‘red paintings’
Santana’s red paintings exhibited here recall her childhood spent in the mountains of Assam, a landscape that was seasonally colored red with flowers from Palash trees or ‘Flame of the Forest’ and Rhododendrons. Having grown up with grandmothers who were expert weavers in silk and cotton, Santana picked up the skill. However, she jokes about lacking patience for the craft, hastily completing her weaves and painting over the mistakes. She recalls that birds would often get entangled in the looms outdoors and the carefully arranged warp and weft threads would have to be broken to rescue the birds, only to be lovingly rejoined after, one thread at a time.
On the other end of the spectrum from the tender beauty of the landscape and handwoven textiles, was the reality of mounting violence in Assam between 1979-1985. Whilst Santana’s childhood was relatively sheltered from the unrest, she recalls signs of distress that loomed large in the late-night knocks on the door by protestors looking for shelter; the uncertainty and agitation in the faces of grown-ups. The meditation on red is an homage to the beauty and as well violence and all its edible imagery. It is an acknowledgement that the two coexist, as two equal realities in the realm of experience.