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Infinite Ideas

An intricate sculptural installation made entirely of hot glue currently hangs on one wall of Lakeeren Art Gallery.

Written by Zaira Arslan |
April 24, 2012 1:44:56 am

An intricate sculptural installation made entirely of hot glue currently hangs on one wall of Lakeeren Art Gallery. On another wall is a group of eight black-and-white archival giclee prints which,with their images of geometrical figures,appear almost architectural. On yet another,is a set of nine tiles with acrylic prints. These show a woman in repose,set against a background of houses and a cave-like structure that suggests habitation. Among a number of others on display at the Colaba gallery till May 31 as part of a group exhibition titled “Cardinal Meridiens: New Geometries of the Infinite”,these works explore a number of ideas.

All five artists,who are part of the show,are essentially South Asian women,but have lived a large part — in some cases a majority — of their lives in countries other than the ones they were born in. “In a way,they are women of the diaspora,” says Arshiya Lokhandwala,curator and founder of Lakeeren,adding,“So in a way,the show is also about memory.”

The very name of the show suggests something of a geometrical nature. The French word ‘meridien’,of course,conjures up images of lines,and the works of Bindu Mehra and Amina Ahmed best fit this image. The former,a Canadian artist of Indian origin,has produced works made entirely of hot glue for this show. One,titled 1363170 Seconds,was made in as many seconds as the name suggests,and is just a single unbroken thread of glue — one end of which hangs from the ceiling leading into a large coil that sits on the floor. Ahmed,on the other hand,has contributed works made using,among other things,thread and pins. Extending from one pin to the next,the thread forms geometrical shapes.

The works of Seher Shah and Fariba Salma Alam,both of whom are based in New York,are image-based,but appear to deal with very different ideas. Shah’s works — a set of eight prints titled Cluster,for instance,contain a number of geometric shapes and are almost architectural in nature. Worlds apart,Alam’s works dwell on religion — Islam in particular. “Religious and secular allegories — with themes of migration,travel and fantasy — often inhabit my narrative influences,” she writes. A work consisting of seven tiles placed in a line,titled The Night Journey,references,“The parable of the Night Journey or Mir’aj,in which the prophet Mohammed takes a mystical voyage from Mecca to Jerusalem riding a creature half-angel,half-horse.”

Perhaps most captivating are the works of Nandita Kumar. Cleverly juxtaposing the natural with the unnatural,she comments on the “naturalness” of technology today. In two glass jars are sculptures made entirely from objects such as computer chips,batteries,copper and printed circuit board components — all unnatural,mechanical objects. On a closer look,they form trees and other small plants. For added emphasis,the work is accompanied by an audio clip — with sounds of birds chirping,whales mating and other similar natural occurrences — playing on loop.

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