Exhibition booklet for 'Codes of culture'

'Codes of culture'


Artists: Astha Butail, Spencer Finch, Bharti Kher, Tahireh Lal, Prabhavathi Meppayil, Sreshta Rit Premnath, and Navin Thomas

22 Jan - 4 Mar 2015

This exhibition features a conceptual intersection of ideas and references alluding to codes of culture, language, memory, structure, and space. Highlighting multiple degrees of dimensions, individual pieces extend themselves from the visual plane to the auditory, chromatic and spatial. Repetitive elements silently nudge at the fixity of the grid, of our understanding of time, and the invisible frameworks that establish our patterns of perception. Questioning current contemporary art objecthood, the notion of communication becomes a crossover point for engagement.

As a window to enter the works, exhibition text has been conceived as a booklet of questions to open up a dialogue on abstraction with viewers.

- Vasundhara Sellamuthu

Sreshta Rit Premnath

but I cannot say this of the line
Aluminum Print
27.3 x 43.2 cm

Performance # 25
Bleach, Black Linen, Measuring Tape, Paint
208.5 x 156.2 cm

In 1974, under the auspices of Anka Ptszkowska’s gallery 25*, French conceptual artist Daniel Buren painted 8.7cm vertical stripes over the windows of an apartment in Warsaw that would later become Edward Krasinski’s studio. In the early 1990’s Krasinski applied his signature 20mm blue tape, 130cms above the floor, around the entire studio including the windows that Buren had painted. Both artists conceived of their gestures as being a zero mark that revealed the existing architecture in a space. They claimed that the line and the stripes were not things in themselves, but rather framing devices for opening onto a world. What happened when these gestures intersected?

Performance # 25 render’s the dimensions of a specific pair of windows in Krasinski’s studio…using a gradient of black to white produced by bleaching linen. but I cannot say this of the line is a small aluminum print in which the caption for a zig-zagging sculpture by Krasinski is replaced by a fragment from Zettel**: “but I cannot say this of the line VVVVV.” This, the only hand-drawn mark in Zettel, brings Wittgenstein and Krasinski into conversation. 

-Avi Alpert 

*The gallery changed its name to the number of each of its consecutive events, Buren’s being the 25th event. 

**Zettel is a collection of assorted remarks by Ludwig Wittgenstein

The following excerpt is from a conversation between Edward Krasinski and Ludwig Wittgenstein written by Sreshta Rit Premnath:

EK: The tape is merely a stand in. It is a finger pointing at the moon. We mustn’t mistake the finger for the moon. Yet, without the finger we may altogether miss the moon.

LW: Then mustn’t we ask, what is a thing? What demarcates a thing and separates it from another? What separates the blue tape from all the (other) objects it intersects? Is this separation simply the result of our perception or is there a real distinction that cleaves one thing from another.

EK: Edward Krasinski
LW:Ludwig Wittgenstein

Prabhavathi Meppayil

Found objects and found objects embedded on gesso panel
355.6 x 266.7 cm

Why were these objects selected by Meppayil and designated as art? 

How does Meppayil explore a new relationship to traditional goldsmiths tools?

Presented as a networked archive, how does she reroute the object from its objecthood to its function?

By virtue of being tools, the moulds function as referents to the objects fashioned by it. What are some of the other referents this installation speaks of?

In what manner does it trace the process of making and “the ‘time’ that the work contains?”

Bharti Kher

Heroides I
Bindis on painted board
158 x 158 cm (framed)

Questions and answers
Bindis on painted board (diptych)
173.2 x 157.7 cm and 157.7 x 157.7 cm

In what ways is the composition of the found object, the bindi, different in these works?

What happens when a singular unit transforms into an epidermal assemblage? How does it change our perception of it?

Applied onto the surface in structured grids of lines, what codes of information do they imply and conceal?

Applied onto the surface in structured grids of lines, what codes of information do they imply and conceal?

“…the conceptual background of the bindi works…has to do with the repetitive act of sticking each individual bindi on: a person, a bindi, a day, and that day after day, and each day is different, but the ritual remains the same. All the works are coded, sometimes they are easy to decipher, sometimes difficult. And so suddenly all that remains of certainties is probabilities.” (B.K.)

Spencer Finch

14 Ways of Looking at Walden Pond
Watercolor and pencil on paper
84 x 113 cm 

Brain scan study (color objects)
Watercolor and pencil on paper
38.1 x 55.88 cm

Study for Polaris
Single Fixture, Filters, Fluorescent Light
125 x 5 x 8.5 cm

Brain scan study (color objects), 2013, shows the regions of the brain that activate when looking at colour. What sensations does colour evoke in you? 

Study for Polaris, 2015, emits the precise visible colour spectrum of the star Polaris. According to Mark Godfrey,“Light which so often appears in art just as presentation, here serves also as a representation.” Knowing Finch’s research led effort to objectively capture the colours of a star, does the eye return to the physical filters wrapped around the fluorescent tube? How does Finch’s work allude to a different and distant referent whilst embracing ‘truth to materials?’

14 Ways of Looking at Walden Pond, 2014 emerged from Finch’s walk around Walden, where he made a line drawing of what he thought the shape of the pond was from 14 different points. Using a loaded brush, each line begins at the point where he physically stood around the pond. In what ways does Finch’s work celebrate subjectivity?

Astha Butail

Voice Reeds
116 x 113 x 8.25 cm
Metal reeds on Wood block, copper fastenings

Using parts of a common Indian musical instrument, how does Butail’s panel visualize sound? 

Does the frequency and continuity of regularly repeated lines of components evoke the quality of a mantra?

How is repetition and echo integral to the transfer and communication of memory and cultural history?

Navin Thomas

you and I, trying to cross a busy intersection...
Reclaimed construction wood, musical movements
154.9 x 69.85 cm

The form of the work arises from the question: how do you depict time and movement?

When engaging with the work, depending on the keys you strike and the pattern in which you strike them, the final outcome in terms of sound produced, duration of sound, and the time you spend with the work is always different from the previous encounter. Through this event, Thomas questions the basic system of human communication: language. 

How does language evolve, reinvent itself, and change through time and movement?

Tahireh Lal

Enclosures or Scaffolding 4, 5 and 6
48.26 x 33.02 x 7.62 cm
Mirror, balsa wood, cotton thread

Referencing the ubiquitous scaffolding structures in the urban landscape, this work speculates on the intangibles that scaffold a person. To what degree does this invisible framework operate and how?

website: www.galleryske.com/Codesofculture/ press: www.vervemagazine.in/arts-and-culture/

Vasundhara Sellamuthu