December 11, 2015 – January 9, 2016
Artworks in Exhibition
The idea of centrality is challenged time and again, through movements of modern and postmodern thought or simply through creative acts. Those who reap benefits of being at the so-called centre may still be compulsively considering the centre as the guiding force: cardinal, pivotal, paramount and overriding all else that is often deemed inconsequential, peripheral or even external. While such manifestations of the idea of centrality tend to put it above any debate, there are ample processes that have polemicized it. These processes are evident in the histories of feminist, radical, post-srtucturalist and post-colonial positions. Political movements of local nature, often about a government in a country at a point of time, contribute to the centre-periphery debate; as do academic positions like the study of Game Theory. Yet, this unending debate leaves many old and a handful of new undercurrents of rigid notions untouched, thereby leaving the hegemony unchallenged. Sojwal Samant’s present suit of works deals with these mute, but rigid notions. In art practice today, these are notions that inform the hegemony of concept over the act of doing .The choice of ceramics- stoneware- as the medium (with a counterpoint: one work in Papier-mâché) starts the polemics.
European and American Critics in the late twentieth century have noted the hegemony within art forms, where ceramic sculptures were still relegated to the realm of craft. They cite Picasso’s ceramic plates, and an Indian critic would go further to cite Ray Meeker. These critical arguments have often dried up with little yield. For a material like stoneware, sculptural spectacle or monumentality is agreeable now; but the claim to cerebral, cutting-edge art is rarely made with ceramics.
Sojwal Samant, too, does not make such claim herself. She only asks the right questions. Or to put it more precisely: she assists the viewers to ask the right questions. To begin with, she rather uses her wit to evoke a literal depiction of ‘cerebral’. The form she disposes almost conforms to a typical laboratory model of Cerebrum. Her project here seems to be one that destabilizes the hierarchy of the brain.
Excerpt taken from the essay by Abhijeet Tamhane.