Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Review: Commentary in Three Dimensions by Himali Singh Soin

Ashok Art Gallery
D-1/31, Rear Portion, Model Town-II, 110009 New Delhi, India
December 11, 2009 - January 11, 2010

Eerily realistic, thought-provoking, rebellious and skillfully crafted: Kanta Kishore Moharana’s mixed-media installations refreshingly bridge conceptualism and formalism, birthing work whose message is embossed within the geometry of the marble, fibre, and bronze of which it is made.

The magic of Moharana’s works is its uncanny realism despite his use of permanent, heavy materials to depict that which is perishable, light, and functional. He sculpts, for example, newspapers from marble—an everyday, perishable item made permanent, heavy—and chisels out real headlines to shape a commentary on society’s ills: words literally ‘set in stone.’ In ‘Restoration,’ he carves a cardboard box being eaten by cockroaches from marble. The weightless, disposable quality of paper and cardboard is ironically effaced by its own depiction as the artist crafts immovable objects from perishable subjects.

This confrontation of our conventional perception of material objects urges the viewer to come closer. But this is an online exhibition, thus hindering the interested from really finding the desired detail in form. Kanta Kishore remarkably does not see this as a disadvantage. “I think it makes my work universal,” he says, “and accessible worldwide.” His background is humble: born to a family of stone carvers in Orissa, he has learned form and technique from his forefathers, yet injected his own ideas to appropriate the work into today’s socio-political and artistic context.

Kanta Kishore’s work with marble is not a traditional sculptural practice that mimics reality. Instead, he utilizes other media to make installations that comment directly on poverty, globalization, exploitation, hunger, and revolution. In his piece, ‘Exploitation,’ Kanta Kishore presents tiny bronze men who are trampled by a giant, red, 6-foot long, ornamented, Arabian shoe. The bright scarlet shoe comments on our contemporary classist society, on capitalism’s fissures in distribution, and on the inhumane manner in which workers, children and adults are treated. Compositionally, each element is carefully balanced in geometry, size, space, weight, color and concept. The specifically Arabian identity of the shoe, however, also implies a potentially provocative interpretation of crowds trodden under the force of the Muslim world.

“There are two aspects in nature:/ The perishable and the imperishable./ All life in this world belongs to the former;/ The unchanging element belongs to the later,” says the Bhagvat Gita. In flipping our perceptions of that which is permanent and that which is temporary, Kanta Kishore provokes us to think more deeply about the meaning and importance of the Absolute in a cruelly relativist world.

-- Himali Singh Soin

(Images from top to bottom: Raw Vision 3; Truth 1; Exploitation. All images courtesy of Ashok Art Gallery and the artist.)

SOURCE: Art Slant

The Ashok Art Gallery is internationally known for one of its most important holdings: more than 2000 major works by the world's most significant Artists.Over the past years, as Ashok Art Gallery has become a major centre for contemporary visual art, the Gallery has built a strong collection of contemporary work of different artists, became a sponsor of the STANDUP-SPEAKOUT Artshow, Organized by Art Of Living Foundation and United Nations.Organized an International Contenmporary Art Exhibition including artists from USA, The Nederlands, Pakistan and India.We have also participated at Art Expo India Mumbai and India Art Summit Delhi


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