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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Excrescence, Guild Art Gallery


EXCRESCENCE
x•cres•cence
[ik-skres-uh ns]
–noun
An abnormal outgrowth; a disfiguring addition; abnormal growth or increase; normal outgrowth (less common).
The Guild is pleased to announce the forthcoming opening of the EXCRESCENCE exhibition. Curated by Beijing and Delhi-based critic and curator, Maya Kóvskaya, PhD, and featuring a multidisciplinary array of works by Indian and Chinese artists. Ashutosh Bhardwaj(painting), Sheba Chhachhi (interactive video), Rohini Devasher (video and photography), HAN Bing (photography), Tushar Joag (drawing, and installation), Prajakta Potnis (photography and site-specific installation) and WU Gaozhong (drawing and photography), the exhibition explores the concept of “excrescence” as a dominant framing device for understanding the seemingly out-of-control processes of growth and change that pervade our contemporary world.


The text below is authored by Maya Kovskaya
The rhetoric of our times is permeated by thinking that invokes what are sometimes called "hand-of-God" variables (such as the "invisible hand of the market," or the idea that new processes take off, spread and then "go viral,” morphing and spreading beyond our control). These hegemonic tropes invisibly frame our understandings of many aspects of our changing world. Notions about these seemingly autonomous processes have proliferated in the popular consciousness and vocabularies of our times and are often framed with metaphors of viral growth, genetic engineering, mutation, metastasis and cancer, pervasive toxicity and inexorable degenerative processes. It is towards this dominant mode of thinking that the Excrescence exhibition directs its gaze and attention.

What is especially noteworthy is the way such framing devices for thinking about the workings of our world often take various valences that perform a kind of conceptual sleight of hand that both explains, amplifies and augments the widespread feeling of being without agency. In such a light, our world appears to be largely "out of control" and governed by huge, vast processes that are far more powerful than human design, or beyond the scope of human action.

20th century philosopher Hannah Arendt discusses this problem extensively, for she believes that the widespread sense of alienation from our own agency comes in part from the consequences of thinking of the world as shaped by such putatively autonomous processes that are governed by an inexorable internal logic (like capitalism, or various economic cycles, "viral" cultural transmission, etc) that seems to sweep away our ability to exert control over our world, our lives, and at times, even our minds. She refers to this conceptual trap in terms such as "autonomy of the process," and she rightly identifies it as a fiction. It is a powerful fiction, however, that has become (and has been for quite some time) a core strand woven into the dominant narratives of contemporary political, economic, cultural and social life of our time--the idea that there are "forces out there" that push and pull us this way and that and are essentially are beyond our control.

In Excrescence, the works shown come at this set of issues from a variety of angles, either meditating on, or reflecting, instantiating, or performatively embodying; either critiquing or deconstructing some of the metaphorical leitmotifs of this mode of thinking and the coded cultural memes and signifiers of these kinds of anxieties: viral spread, cancerous metastasis, uncontrollable (unpredictable) mutation, invasive toxicity, inexorable processes of excrescent, degenerative growth, and so forth, asking us to consider the way these optics shape our own gazes and transform the ways we see ourselves and the workings of the world we participate in making through our speech, actions and practices of everyday life."

TEXT by Maya Kóvskaya, PhD
www.mayakovskaya.com (launching soon)


PUJA VAISH's text on the work of Ashutosh Bhardwaj.
"If a ‘wonderland’ can be described as a marvelous imaginary realm or place, the painting titled ‘Spoon-fed Wonderland’ aims to explore the construction of this imagination. This exploration is driven by certain assumptions: That every imagination is contextual within its culture and location. Also, that the larger ‘ideal’ vision of agencies such as the state and the media have a bearing on individual aspirations.
The painting devises a hovering space of a highly patterned chessboard hinting to preordained destiny or chances. This puts in question the fate of the little boy’s(in the centre of the work) self-discovery. Clichéd ideas of the masculine body are projected before him on the two castle pieces in the foreground. Far in the distance are a set of ambiguous images, all satisfying some expression of masculine symbolism: a large phallic sword like object looms behind a temple-like structure which enshrines a muted silhouette of a man caught in the act of self-pleasure through masturbation."



The Guild is pleased to announce the forthcoming opening of the EXCRESCENCE exhibition. Curated by Beijing and Delhi-based critic and curator, Maya Kóvskaya, PhD, and featuring a multidisciplinary array of works by Indian and Chinese artists. Ashutosh Bhardwaj(painting), Sheba Chhachhi (interactive video), Rohini Devasher (video and photography), HAN Bing (photography), Tushar Joag (drawing, and installation), Prajakta Potnis (photography and site-specific installation) and WU Gaozhong (drawing and photography), the exhibition explores the concept of “excrescence” as a dominant framing device for understanding the seemingly out-of-control processes of growth and change that pervade our contemporary world.
The rhetoric of our times is permeated by thinking that invokes what are sometimes called "hand-of-God" variables (such as the "invisible hand of the market," or the idea that new processes take off, spread and then "go viral,” morphing and spreading beyond our control). These hegemonic tropes invisibly frame our understandings of many aspects of our changing world. Notions about these seemingly autonomous processes have proliferated in the popular consciousness and vocabularies of our times and are often framed with metaphors of viral growth, genetic engineering, mutation, metastasis and cancer, pervasive toxicity and inexorable degenerative processes. It is towards this dominant mode of thinking that the Excrescence exhibition directs its gaze and attention.
What is especially noteworthy is the way such framing devices for thinking about
the workings of our world often take various valences that perform a kind of conceptual sleight of hand that both explains, amplifies and augments the widespread feeling of being without agency. In such a light, our world appears to be largely "out of control" and governed by huge, vast processes that are far more powerful than human design, or beyond the scope of human action.
20th century philosopher Hannah Arendt discusses this problem extensively, for she believes that the widespread sense of alienation from our own agency comes in part from the consequences of thinking of the world as shaped by such putatively autonomous processes that are governed by an inexorable internal logic (like capitalism, or various economic cycles, "viral" cultural transmission, etc) that seems to sweep away our ability to exert control over our world, our lives, and at times, even our minds. She refers to this conceptual trap in terms such as "autonomy of the process," and she rightly identifies it as a fiction. It is a powerful fiction, however, that has become (and has been for quite some time) a core strand woven into the dominant narratives of contemporary political, economic, cultural and social life of our time--the idea that there are "forces out there" that push and pull us this way and that and are essentially are beyond our control.

In Excrescence, the works shown come at this set of issues from a variety of angles, either meditating on, or reflecting, instantiating, or performatively embodying; either critiquing or deconstructing some of the metaphorical leitmotifs of this mode of thinking and the coded cultural memes and signifiers of these kinds of anxieties: viral spread, cancerous metastasis, uncontrollable (unpredictable) mutation, invasive toxicity, inexorable processes of excrescent, degenerative growth, and so forth, asking us to consider the way these optics shape our own gazes and transform the ways we see ourselves and the workings of the world we participate in making through our speech, actions and practices of everyday life.


If a ‘wonderland’ can be described as a marvelous imaginary realm or place, the painting titled ‘Spoon-fed Wonderland’ aims to explore the construction of this imagination. This exploration is driven by certain assumptions: That every imagination is contextual within its culture and location. Also, that the larger ‘ideal’ vision of agencies such as the state and the media have a bearing on individual aspirations.
The painting devises a hovering space of a highly patterned chessboard hinting to preordained destiny or chances. This puts in question the fate of the little boy’s(in the centre of the work) self-discovery. Clichéd ideas of the masculine body are projected before him on the two castle pieces in the foreground. Far in the distance are a set of ambiguous images, all satisfying some expression of masculine symbolism: a large phallic sword like object looms behind a temple-like structure which enshrines a muted silhouette of a man caught in the act of self-pleasure through masturbation.

text by Puja Vaish