Civilisation and its Material Contents @ Project 88

October 01, 2018


Mumbai: Project 88 is now showing Civilisation and its Material Contents, a group exhibition featuring new works by contemporary artists Neha Kudchadkar, Khageswar Raut, and Mahesh Baliga (September 11 to October 15, 2018). Brought together by their ongoing explorations with clay, the artists collaboratively address the relevance of the medium within the age of the digital and the virtual.

The exhibition makes a titular reference to the seminal text, Civilisation and its Discontents in which Sigmund Freud exposes the palimpsestic nature of history and memory through his metaphorical description of Rome. Particularly in the Indian context, clay and ceramics may be associated with terracotta sculptures, as well as other decorative and utilitarian earthenware created since the Indus Valley civilisation. Just as Freud recalls the history of a space as one that places layers of time onto one plane, this exhibition features works that contribute towards an understanding of the past that defies linear narratives. Given that they bear a sense of archaeological memory, the works evoke a chronicle of trade and other historic connections between diverse parts of the world, subverting contemporary skirmishes across arbitrary border lines.

Kudchadkar’s works delve into macrocosmic aspects of the ethos of cities from socio-political, geographic, as well as psychological perspectives. Ideas concerning exchange, transformation, movement, and human relations with spaces over periods of time are emphasised. Raut’s intricate works study the architectural forms and labyrinthine designs found within organic materials through fragile portrayals of perishable objects. The influences of the organic on the man-made, the notion of randomness and abstraction found in nature, as well as the inevitability of impermanence are highlighted. Additionally, his works compel a reconsideration of the contemporary significance of craftsmanship. Finally, Baliga’s works bend time through uncanny portrayals of objects as terracotta artefacts. His works coerce a consideration of materiality, the development of technology, and the relevance of the handmade in an age of industrial production. The works in the show simultaneously consider daily objects, architectural compositions, as well as immaterial values that build a culture. Through extremely tactile portrayals, the artists conjure intangible ideas concerning fragility, impermanence, and transformation - notions that have remained constant since the beginning of civilisation.

 This exhibition is especially topical in light of the first iteration of the ongoing Indian Ceramics Triennale in Jaipur that is co-curated by Neha Kudchadkar.

Neha Kudchadkar is visual and performing artist currently living in Mumbai. She is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, London, and the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S.U., Baroda. She has chosen to negotiate various roles – dancer, ceramicist, researcher, teacher, choreographer, administrator, collaborator – that inform one another and broaden her approach as an artist and maker.Neha is a co-founder and director of beej, a performing arts collective in Mumbai.

Khageswar Raut was born in Bhadrak, Orissa in 1992 and has completed his Bachelors and Masters in Sculpture from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata. Khageswar has participated in several workshops notably, Rava Wooden Mask making workshop organized by Rabindra Bharati University at Alipurduar, Kala Sakshi workshop at Sanskriti Kendra, New Delhi, Dhokra workshop organized by Rabindra Bharati University at Bankura and Terracotta workshop organized by The Indian Museum, Kolkata. Khageswar’s sculptures have also being showcased at ‘SVIKRITI’ at Birla Academy of Art and Culture, ‘PRASPECTA’ at Galerie 88, 29th National Exhibition of Contemporary Art at Nagpur, 3rd Annual Exhibition at Emami Chisel, Kolkata are name of the few.

Khageswar has received Shared Award in 49th Annual exhibition organized by Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Award of Sponsorship for solo exhibition organized by 29th National Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Nagpur and Kala Sakshi Art Scholarship Award, Kala Sakshi Memorial Trust, Noida, NewDelhi.

Mahesh Baliga (b. 1982) presents the world as he witnesses: his own time, the people who belong to this time. The local, the small scale, the eccentric and the ordinary finds a place in his work. He likes collecting and engaging with everyday objects. His art practice reflects on different dilemmas and crisis of making an art object of two dimensionality and three dimensionality. Unpredictability of a medium offers him new challenges.

Baliga is a Gold medalist from C.A.V.A, Mysore and had completed post graduate diploma with distinction from M.S.U, Baroda. He has had four solo shows at Project88 and has also exhibited at Rosenfeld gallery in Israel, XVA gallery in Dubai and Baikkong Museum in Korea as well participated in various group exhibitions in India and abroad.