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Rooted Spine by Karl Antao

Rooted Spine by Karl Antao

December 1, 2023 – January 6, 2024

Artworks in Exhibition

In the narratives of the future, artists can prophecise the consequences of their own vision as well as carve the restitution of the dichotomies of existence. In their projection of a strong though robotic reality as well as their foothold on earthy domains, the voice of Karl Antao will remain predominant as it conjugates the humanscape of new creations with the manifold bounty of nature.

The Ahmedabad-based sculptor’s work is known for its strong, robust structures which also bring with it critical reflections of the times. Could these looming women point to a nether zone where an apocalyptic reality can promulgate disasters and at the same time reveal a resilient ability to withstand catastrophic winds of misanthropic resolutions?

The artist has an affinity for amalgamating the natural world with man-made configurations of creation. In the present series we have, among others, looming forms which seem to expand skywards and yet their rootedness to the ground creates the language of their propagation. Antao’s figures reverberate classical forms while being eminently based in the present to reflect the plebeian and the plural. Their myriad expressions while retaining a beatific calm are also of this world and of the cares and struggles of everyday life. Their worrisome thoughts are of the next meal and of sheltering from the cold or heat and the rapid expansion of famine like conditions. And the hands, sturdy yet flexible, point to essential truths which need to be grasped in their stark totality.

The beatific expression of the figures points to a world of eternity where the passage of time can be contained and healed. Yet the stains on the textured surface seem to simmer with disquiet and unresolved dilemmas which also reflect the turbulence of the present. These seem to be in the grip of the acne of the skin, a rupturing of nature’s bounty as well as man’s own struggles for wholeness as seismic undercurrents threaten to overpower growth. Arguably it is an evenly matched performance between the construction of wholeness as well as a disfigur ation of sublimated truths. Yet there is a configuration of dualities which conjoin to form the roundedness of the form and its subtle, sensuous surface.

– Yashodhara Dalmia


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