"What My Mother Didn’t Teach Me… & Some Things She Did!" - with a riveting title and theme, Tao Art Gallery - one of the leading Mumbai art galleries opened a solo show of the young artist, Viraj Khanna, on February 25th 2022 and will be up till April 3rd 2022.
Adorning the white walls of Tao are the scintillating paintings, digital works and sculptures of Viraj that speak about human behaviour. Curated by Sanjana Shah, the engrossing themes and body of work have a character of their own. Though there are certain distinctions between humans and other animals on this planet, Khanna has been able to portray similarities as he explores more on humanistic values and etiquettes. Human Body language and thought in juxtaposition to that of animal mannerism have been some of the key inspirations behind his work.
In the words of Sanjana - "When I first interacted with Viraj’s work I was completely taken in by how evocative each piece was. The shapes, forms and colours stood out, starkly at first, but then coming together in an incredibly aesthetic form. However, aesthetics are far from the mind of this young, upcoming artist. Khanna in fact tries to break free from the aesthetic legacy handed down to him by his mother as he carves his own niche of exploration. Ironically, much of this exploration is also derived from the same legacy as he makes a sartorial commentary through his art on the ideas of beauty, fashion, appearances and society."
Additionally, Tao also sets the stage and is extremely excited to announce the launch of Tao Art Gallery’s first ever NFT showcase with Viraj Khanna’s art that will be on display for Mumbai Gallery Weekend 2022. Along with the physical canvas and sculpture works, Viraj will be launching three NFTs exclusively for this solo exhibition.”
The mediums and processes explored by Khanna show the level of experiment that is characteristic of the myriad thematic layers he is dappling with. With the primary base being a paper collage, he builds up the narrative using different elements from various magazines, encyclopedias, and other books to give it a shape. These
pictorial elements could be anything ranging from different trees to parts of people's bodies, to different accessories/shapes. This mix and match lead to a final piece that is as much a journey for the artist as it is for the artwork! It is fluid and organic, removing all forms of restriction in the creation process.
Growing up surrounded by art, especially textiles and embroidery has helped Khanna develop a certain aesthetic when it comes to the way he sees and creates things. Embroidery work and textile involves putting different materials, fabrics and other elements together to express certain feelings, perceptions or visions. Transmuting to paintings, sculptures and collages has been somewhat a liberating space where similar conc
epts and philosophies can be expressed in a totally different architecture. Khanna always believes that creativity is not inborn, it's something you work on and get better the more you try. So he has never been intimidated by working with new materials and spaces. He started out with collage work- pieces of magazines, articles, encyclopedias and things around to create objects or images of meaning. Gradually Viraj moved onto more sculptural forms with the base idea emerging from the original collage work.
In his words, “humans are social animals, and the society we lIve in shapes the way we speak, behave, and interact with our surroundings. It also has a direct influence on our priorities, morals, ethics, values, etc. We aren’t born knowing what is right and what is wrong. We look at our surroundings, or behave according to the way we are told or taught. This adaptation to societal norms in order to fit in makes us ‘put on a face’. It makes us behave in a certain way, almost masking our true nature. My sculptures and paintings with their exaggerated features and multiple faces, depicts this behavioral adaptation due to the influences of society. There is a constant battle between our raw, natural form versus our conditioned form.”
Speaking on the NFT, he adds, “They say that in a few years, we could see digital recreations of ourselves in the metaverse living there just like the real world. So, the NFTs available now could be significant collectables or assets owned by people on the metaverse!”
At What My Mother Didn’t Teach Me… & Some Things She Did!, audiences will get an opportunity to witness a glorious deconstruction and reconstruction of identities and ideologies.
The show is now open for public viewing till April 3 2022. Book an appointment with the gallery or walk=in with all covid protocols in place.