Thomas Erben is excited to present a group of three artists who play with the poetics of relation, activating the spaces in between text, photography, painting, video, film and experience. Parallels, conundrums and paradoxes are the modus operandi used to illuminate the layered processes of making sense. Texts and still or moving images are partially erased, but then reappear in multiples, accretions or other media and slip back and forth between potential readings.
Vijai Patchineelam’s (b. 1983, Rio de Janeiro) photographs and books trap objects, processes and the producer in a perpetual state of transit. Idea and result are conflated into a present continuous, which is both the impetus behind and the product of the work. Arthur, a large-scale photograph depicting the artist’s friend, turned away, bent forward beside a similarly figured painting, further confuses these relations: the subject’s body starts to resemble the body of the painting and vice versa creating an oscillating and mutual transformation.
Blue Book, Moon Rock by Sreshta Rit Premnath (b. 1979, Bangalore) consists of four parts: a photograph, a chalkboard, a screenprint and the light directed from a reeling projector onto silver-sprayed acetate. The repeated image of a moon rock is recontextualized by these shifting media. Man’s romantic emotional attachment drew him to the moon only to bring home physical evidence completely devoid of the original impulse. Premnath is exactly interested in this gap where the parts point in the same direction but hardly reconcile. Juxtaposed with one image of the rock, Wittgenstein’s quote from his Blue Book, “We ought to talk further on about the meaning of ‘forgetting the meaning of a word’” – a promise made in the past to discuss the meaning of forgetting in the future – further enriches Premnath’s elliptical approach.
Jaret Vadera (b. 1976, Toronto) presents a fragmented, mixed media “decollage” of an image from a tiger hunt. Simultaneously layering and ripping through multiple levels of paint and paper, the artist adorned and destroyed the symbol of the dead tiger, reflecting the tension between the exotic and the real, fact and fiction. Similarly, Vadera’s video mutates found footage – omitting, fragmenting and filtering data – revealing the space of transformation between reality, mediation and the cognitive system.
In the project space, Rafil Kroll-Zaidi (b. 1980, New Delhi) exhibits a selection of photographs of Bollywood film sets. The actors and extras, relaxed and out of character between shots, and the laborers, suddenly highly visible, contrast with the hyper-artificiality of the sets, allowing the images to explore the construction of the industry’s vernacular. The artist also cites his longstanding interest in approaching light as a central narrative feature. In essence, the light source becomes like a character, whose primacy and subtle strangeness fundamentally change the emotional tone of the still image, transforming familiar and even clichéd stories into ambiguous, unknowable ones.