is that | that is
February 25, 2016 – March 24, 2016
Artworks in Exhibition
is that | that is
John Berger describes the process of writing where, “A writer continually struggles for clarity against the language he’s using or, more accurately, against the common usage of that language. He doesn’t see language with the readability and clarity of something printed out. He sees it, rather as a terrain full of illegibilities, hidden paths, impasses, surprises, and obscurities.”
Mekhala Bahl’s pictorial language is simultaneously a language of brevity, abbreviation and excess. In and through the act of making, she continuously re-composes the vocabulary, the grammar and the language anew. In a seminal text on filmic space and time in 1929, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Soviet filmmaker and theorist, wrote that “to show something as everyone sees it is to have accomplished nothing”. The process of juxtaposition which is the hallmark of Mekhala’s method, which, borrowing from film theory, can be read as a kind of montage, in which seemingly disparate elements are brought together to create thick visual texts, forms and colour laid alongside each other, stacked in layers.
These prints and paintings could be described as diaries containing notes in a secret language, where the people she encounters, the spaces she inhabits as her own, and the places she travels to, are all abbreviated into symbols; symbols in a secret iconography that can be differently deciphered by each onlooker in uneven, non-linear narratives that are constructed by the mind’s eye. However each image is more than the sum of its parts. Lines, dots, seemingly arbitrary marks and scratches, tonal variations, patterns, dots, dribbles of paint, the texture of the surface of the matrix, the uneven edges of the paper all work together to evoke a visceral response. With this body of work, Mekhala recovers the immense creative possibilities contained in flawed messiness and the beauty of imperfection and chance.