Artist: Ravikumar Kashi When: November 28 – December 31
Ravikumar Kashi’s studio is at Vijayanagar, at a far corner of the city. Thankfully, it’s at one end of the Namma Metro line, so it’s fairly easy to reach. If you call in advance, Kashi will pick you up from the station. (That’s how this writer got there.)
His new solo has been two years in the making, says the artist, on a walkthrough of the works going into the show. The selections reflect the spread of his prolific explorations in a career of over 25 years.
The centrepiece is an installation of a boat made of mesh and pulp, laden with an assortment of objects, all moulded in handmade paper. The work “evokes many of the metaphors of our time, where hope and despair ride together side by side,” says a concept note.
Alongside, are five works in wooden
laboratory cases, of the kind used to store
scientific equipment. “Myriad indecisions”, “Heirlooms of Fear”, “Twisted Tongue”, “Dark Revenue”, and “Between Two Lives”, offer
motley arrangements of found objects — a Buddha figurine in a shopping cart, for instance, and carved concrete blocks, depicting
various measures of power and control structures. Kashi
also makes room in here for
subdued symbolic allusions of
a religious nature.
The curator Lina
Vincent Sunish describes the artist’s keen interest in “the mechanics of making meaning”. In an age of aggressive, no-holds-barred self-promotion and chest-thumping social assertions, Kashi says he is intent on kindling “a deep inner sense of calm”.
At the show, Kashi also brings in a set of photographs called “Memorial”, apart from a photo book called “Shelf life”, playing on commonplace displays in Indian middle-class households. The highlight is “All is always now”, a set of the relatively lesser-known form of “artist books”, which Kashi has championed for over a decade. In these works, Kashi sneaks in ‘tributes’ to other artists, in his pen and ink drawings; look closely for references to Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and Subodh Gupta.
At the opening of Silent Echo, do step up and request Kashi for a visit to his studio. It’s your chance to get a firsthand view of his numerous side projects, especially of papermaking. If you’re lucky, Kashi might even take you home and offer you a sumptuous meal.
At Gallery Sumukha, Wilson Garden. Details: 22292230
— Jaideep Sen