In Touch Edition 5: Sharad Sonkusale & Ishita Chakraborty : Selected Works
Gallery Espace presents the works of Ishita Chakraborty and Sharad Sonkusale, two young artists who explore the world of nuance between black and white.
Chakraborty (b. 1989), a native of West Bengal currently lives in Zurich, where she is pursuing an MFA program at the Zurich University of the Arts. Her art arises from her feelings of cultural alienation and her struggle with the Eurocentric self-image of the society around her. More particularly, it arises from the many stories she hears from immigrants from across the world at the language school where she learns German. Her work, she says, evolves from ‘deep listening’ to the oral histories of these displaced people, from their stories of violence and loss. Her assiduous hand-scratched drawings – a process she likens to ‘wounds’ – transform their collected memories of home and exile, of floorplans, folk-tales, reports and the writings of diaspora poets. They are also inspired by maps, landscapes and transient geographies or shared historiographies crossing Asia and Europe.
Sonkusale’s (b.1977) monochromatic works on canvas, overlaid with small squares of rice paper, reenact the vibrations of music, and are a visual transposition of ‘sur’ and ‘taal’ in the ragas of Hindustani music that he is deeply interested in and inspired by. Sharad’s canvases begin with the dot, a point of focused attention, which aggregate to form dabs, dashes and lines that travel horizontally and vertically, and sometimes diagonally across the visual plane, creating abstract patterns and grey tones, flecked sometimes with gold. The effect is that of an emotional landscape, a reflection of the artist’s own interiority, perhaps, but also one that invites viewers to engage with the translucent surface and make of it what he will.
Gallery Espace was established in New Delhi in 1989 by Renu Modi with the encouragement of legendary painter M F Husain. The gallery, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, is recognised for bringing in a cross-disciplinary approach to curation with shows such as ‘Kitsch Kitsch Hota Hai’ (2001) and ‘Lo Real Maravilloso’ (2009), and for its many large-scale medium specific shows such as ‘Drawings (1994), ‘Sculpture’ (1995), ‘Bronze’ (2006), and ‘Video Wednesdays’ (2007 & 2008). With several of these, Gallery Espace succeeded in shaping the art discourse of the time and expanding the ambit of aesthetic taste.
The Gallery’s eclectic and nuanced aesthetics is also reflected in the mix of senior and up-coming artists it represents — Zarina, Nilima Sheikh, Manjunath Kamath, G. R. Iranna, Ravi Agarwal, Shambhavi, Mekhala Bahl, Chitra Ganesh, Waswo X. Waswo with R. Vijay, and Harendra Kushwaha. The Gallery has also published several books on modern and contemporary Indian art, with the aim of fostering relationships with institutions and artists and promoting debates and scholarship around contemporary art and art practices.