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ಬೂದಿ | BOODI (Ash)

ಬೂದಿ | BOODI (Ash)

G R Iranna

February 27  –  April 15, 2021

Dissolving Tree
Acrylic and pigment on tarpaulin
66 x 96 inches
2019

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“Boodi” (“ash” in Kannada) brings together recent works by G R Iranna that crystalise his sustained artistic engagement with the tree. Ash, an integral part of his recent practice, is at the centre of Iranna’s conceptual concerns in these works – not just as medium and a rich source of symbolic meaning drawn from ideas of philosophy and spiritualism, and social practice, but as the very residual matter of life, indeed of all nature and the consciousness that pervades it.

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The fragrance of invisible flowers-G-R-Iranna-1

The fragrance of invisible flowers
Ash, acrylic, silver foil on tarpaulin
54 x 72 inches
2019

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Laden with blossoms, their dense foliage etched against the sky, Iranna’s trees are the very image of nature’s beauty and vitality. But it is a beauty harnessed to a core of strangeness, to contemplation of the mystery at the core of life.

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The Final Yield-G R Iranna

The Final Yield
Coal powder, brick dust, acrylic on tarpaulin
54 x 132 inches
2019

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Born in an agrarian family in rural Karnataka, Iranna grew up attuned to nature’s cycles – themes which have formed the subtext of many of his works. But it was an encounter with the nearly 3,000-year-old Tree of Tule in Mexico some years ago that led to a near epiphany – a “sudden, spiritual manifestation”. Moved to tears, Iranna remembers marvelling at the mighty Montezuma cypress that looked like a primordial force that had existed since time immemorial, a witness to the rise and fall of empires, to war and devastation, to happiness and joy and love down the ages. And yet, for all that it had seen and the perils it had encountered, the tree remained calm and unperturbed, continuing to flower, fruit, and provide shade and oxygen in accordance with its dharma.

The tree becomes, in this very personal association of ideas, a metaphor for the “socially exploited” and “innocent” victims who, by their “tolerance” and ability to “give without taking”, pose a spiritual bulwark to the ills of the world – to violence, terrorism, injustice, environmental degradation, and such like. The works in Boodi manifest these concerns and themes, stretching and affirming their relevance in newer contexts and fresh narratives.

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About the Artist

G. R. Iranna’s (b. 1970) practice, comprising painting and sculpture, manifests metaphysical dualities — nature and human artifice, spirituality and materiality, permanence and transience, heavy and light-weight, dark and light – through formal juxtapositions of mediums, colours, textures, and forms. Several of his recent paintings depict trees looming over the canvas like sentient beings. Iranna paints these in layers of acrylic or pigment mixed with earth materials such as ash, coal or brick dust, giving the surface of his canvases a textural, palimpsest-like quality. His fascination with ash stems from everyday ritual and also its symbolic affinity with birth and death, and the return to nothing-ness. Iranna went to art college in Gulbarga (Karnataka), followed by a post-graduation from the College of Art, New Delhi. He has shown extensively in India and abroad. Notable among his recent solo exhibitions are ‘Ether is all there is’ (2017), a solo at Gallery Espace, New Delhi; and ‘And the Last Shall be the First: Works 1995-2015’, at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru. ‘From Ash to Ash’ a giant sculpture of an egg-form by the artist, was part of the 2016 Kochi Muziris Biennale. Iranna is a recipient of the ABPF Foundation’s Signature Art Prize- Singapore Art Museum Jury Award [2008]; Harmony Show Artist of the Year Award, Harmony Foundation, Mumbai [2004]; Charles Wallace Scholarship between 1999 and 2000; 40th National Academy Award from Lalit Kala Academy and the AIFACS Award in 1997.  Iranna represented India at the 2018 Venice Biennale with ‘Naavu’, a large-scale sculptural installation of paadukas (traditional Indian wooden clogs). His works form part of several distinguished Indian and international collections.

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The song without sound-G R Iranna

The song without sound
Bronze
66 x 16 x 13 inches
2019

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The silent tree, the resounding leaves-G R Iranna

The silent tree, the resounding leaves
Ash and acrylic on tarpaulin
72 x 67 inches
2020

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“What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish?”

—TS Eliot 

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Into the ground, over the horizon
Watercolour, charcoal powder on paper
56 x 144 inches
2018

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Who shall I desire when emotions merge into ash?
Bronze
100 x 10 x 10 inches
2019

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Iranna’s bronze sculptures of tree logs and branches enact a close parallel with reality such as to deceive most viewers at first glance – a reaction of surprise and wonder leading to a more immersive contemplation of the works’ significance. Nature and art, wood and bronze, lightweight and heavy, commonplace and precious – Iranna’s works suggest a series of contrasts juxtaposed to underline their metaphorical possibilities and elicit meaning. There’s yet another degree of duality hinted at – the ‘dead’ log finds renewed life as art, redolent not just with the artist’s consciousness but also with the log’s own life story, and the exigencies of place, weather, and experience which gave it shape.

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Into the indigo-G R Iranna

Into the indigo
Coal powder, indigo colour on paper
60 x 96 inches
2019

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“One of Iranna’s chosen vehicles of articulation is the allegorical tableau. He takes advantage of the critical and even adversarial stance that allegory permits, while nourishing its potential for all that cannot be decoded, cannot be named: the expressive and the sensuous.”

-Ranjit Hoskote, Catalogue Essay, “And the last shall be the first:
G R Iranna, Works 1995 – 2015”

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The fragrance beneath
Acrylic, ash, brick dust on tarpaulin
48 x 66 inches
2020

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“What I find interesting is that there is in this exhibition a solidity of material, but it translates into very metaphoric and metaphysical content which takes us into a consciousness which is much more spiritual, much more to do with wisdoms that come from ancient times….”

—Roobina Karode, Curator and Art Critic

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Poems in the dust 1-G R Iranna

Poems in the dust 2-G R Iranna

Poems in the dust 4-G R Iranna

Series title: Poems in the dust (1, 2, 3 & 4)
Acrylic, ash on paper
22 x 30 inches
2020

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(In)visible ego: If the temple is within the body is there need for other temples?
Bronze and bricks
102 x 93 x 53 inches
2019

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