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Mirror/Maze: Navigating the Labyrinth of Artistic Expression at Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Delhi

In the heart of New Delhi, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) has unveiled a captivating exhibition that transcends traditional boundaries, inviting visitors to explore the intricate web of artistic expression. Titled 'Mirror/Maze: echoes of song, space and spectre,' this groundbreaking exhibition showcases the works of 21 diverse artists, each contributing to a symphony of creativity that challenges conventional perspectives on art and its place in our lives.

Exhibition view, Mirror _ Maze at KNMA Saket, 2023. Artwork by Bikash Bhattacharjee

A Sensorial Odyssey: Roobina Karode's Experiential Curation

Curated by Roobina Karode, the Director and Chief Curator of KNMA, the exhibition is not merely a display of artworks; it is a sensorial odyssey. Karode, along with her team of curators, weaves together a narrative that unfolds like a space-maze. Visitors traverse through long corridors that oscillate between dark spans and illuminated areas, where painted images and simulated hyper-realities coexist, challenging the viewers to contemplate beauty and brutality, silence and sound, and the delicate dance between the known and the unknown.

Karode emphasizes the experiential nature of the exhibition, urging viewers to engage with the artworks on a personal level. "The viewers move through long corridors that open into dark spans and illuminated areas, juxtaposing painted images and simulated hyper-realities, beauty and brutality," she explains. "It raises provocative questions with no easy or definite answers, asking the viewers to make their own meanings."

21 Artists, 21 Universes: A Kaleidoscope of Creativity

The exhibition features a diverse roster of artists, each contributing a unique perspective to the kaleidoscope of creativity. From Dayanita Singh's exploration of enduring relationships to Raqib Shaw's dazzling pictoriality addressing the dualities of life, the exhibition delves into the multifaceted realms of human experience.

Sonia Khurana Somnambulist's Song, 2008 Two channel video 15 minutes Courtesy: The Artist Collection: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art

Sonia Khurana's double-channel video, "Somnambulist's Song," skillfully weaves together the opposing experiences of sound and silence, creating a nuanced exploration of auditory landscapes. Anish Kapoor's monumental disk, "(Red no.2 mix to Black Mist)," challenges our perceptions of space and object, blurring the lines between the real and the unreal.

Raqib Shaw Allegory of Melancholy (After Lucas Cranach the Elder), 2017-2018 Acrylic liner and enamel on birchwood Courtesy: The Artist Collection: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art

The exhibition also unveils works from the KNMA collection for the first time, offering viewers a rare glimpse into the museum's extensive holdings. Noteworthy is Ranbir Kaleka's "Not Anonymous Waking to the Obscure Fear of a New Dawn," a single-channel video projected on six planes, confronting an existential crisis in an increasingly hostile world.

The Poetics of Space and Memory: Unveiling Hidden Realities

Gauri Gill's "Re-memory" presents 54 black-and-white photographs capturing unregistered presences and overlooked details of mundane urban spaces. Dhruv Malhotra's "Sleepers, After Dark Trilogy" draws attention to the silent moments in the city at night, revealing poignant images of sleepers in public spaces devoid of noise and chaos.

Rashid Rana's installation, "Desperately Seeking Paradise," disrupts the stability of reality, creating a maze out of a familiar city skyline. Arun Dev's meticulously painted enigmatic doorways and psychedelic architecture transport viewers to mysterious alternate worlds. Nikhil Chopra's "Broken White" offers a glimpse into the afterlife of his 2010 performance in Paris, adding an extra layer of depth to the exhibition.

Martha Fiennes' film "Yugen" stands out as an extraordinary collaboration between artistic creativity and computer coding, leading viewers through constantly evolving labyrinths in a surreal exploration of time and space.

Meditations on Migration and Friction: Sheba Chhachhi's 'Winged Pilgrims'

One of the highlights of the exhibition is Sheba Chhachhi's multi-part installation, "Winged Pilgrims: A Chronicle from Asia." Evolving from years of research, Chhachhi's work invites viewers into a quiet ambience, urging contemplation on migration, displacement, and the unresolved friction between tradition and modernity.

Rohini Devasher Terrasphere, 2015 Video projection on pedestal and archival prints Courtesy: The Artist Image credit: Anil Rane, courtesy Bhau Daji Lad Museum Collection: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art

In a more intimate corner, Rohini Devasher's "Terrasphere" demands mindfulness, prompting viewers to notice subtle changes occurring in the image-field or the cosmos of the earth. Jayashree Chakravarty's hand-made suspended form, "Nest," crafted from organic materials, resonates with the instinctive play of line and mass in nature, creating a labyrinth of the mind.

Spectres and Apparitions: Confronting Human Mortality

Bikash Bhattacharya's motif of the 'doll' standing, hanging, or abandoned in the deserted city of Calcutta after war and violence sets a haunting tone, alluding to spectres and apparitions. Marina Abramović's film, "Seven Deaths of Maria Callas," adapts iconic characters like Desdemona and Carmen, offering a moving rendition on the fate of women in woven narratives.

Bikash Bhattacharjee Untitled (Doll Series), 1970 Oil on canvas Collection: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art

Abramović, known for her intense performance-based practice, uses her body as the medium to transcend fear and mortality. Her film invites viewers to witness a performative adaptation that not only explores iconic characters but also showcases her grit and risk-taking approach in pushing the limits of the mind and body.

A Diverse Palette: Artists and Their Mediums

The participating artists contribute to the exhibition's rich tapestry, each bringing a unique medium and style to the forefront. From Anish Kapoor's monumental disks to Rashid Rana's optical illusions, the exhibition spans a spectrum of artistic expression. An exploration of the afterlife of performance, as seen in Nikhil Chopra's "Broken White," adds an intriguing layer to the narrative.

Exhibition view, Mirror _ Maze at KNMA Saket, 2023. Sheba Chhachhi’s multi-part installation

Exhibition Details and Visitor Information

The 'Mirror/Maze' exhibition is open to the public from October 27, 2023, until December 25, 2023, at KNMA, Saket. Operating from 10:30 A.M to 6:30 P.M, the museum is closed on Mondays and public holidays, with free admission to all exhibitions.

As Rad Art Media continues to champion artistic endeavours that push boundaries and inspire thought, Radhika expresses her admiration for KNMA's commitment to fostering an environment where art is not merely observed but experienced in its purest, most transformative form. The Mirror/Maze exhibition, she concludes, stands as a testament to the museum's dedication to elevating the discourse around contemporary art.

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