The Virtues of Landscape

August 25, 2022 - September 15, 2022 


The exhibition presents landscape as its core concern from the perspective of four different artists, Harish Ojha, Puja Mondal, Sareena Khemka, and Suryakant Swain, emphasising the importance of new aesthetic attitudes to engage with spaces, places, topographies, and land. Together, these individual artistic practices and concerns develop new modes of aesthetic meaning rooted in situational knowledge based on geographic and cultural specificities. The exhibition mobilises a range of sensibilities related to the landscape in diverse mediums to expand the many virtues of landscapes that will renew explorations to unravel the multifaceted character of landscape and experience, involving aesthetic, political, subjective, and geographical interests.
Inspired by the ornamental tradition of South Asian art and his specific experience of belonging to a rural agrarian family, Harish Ojha's abstract paper works implicates the landscape both as the material and the representation. Ojha crafts handmade papers using the agricultural detritus from his farmland and meticulously fashion a textured surface through folds that shows the complicated process of tilling, sowing seeds and nurturing the product. A layered abstraction emerges where art embraces landscape materially and engenders a new way to see, to know and to understand the world. Whereas Puja Mondal infuses melancholic musings with her planar and spatial configuration of familiar spaces. Mondal's paintings clearly establish the dichotomy between realistic topographical terrain and representation of landscapes emerging from the interior dilemmas. She departs from the dominant preoccupation with the landscape of grandeur, glory, myth and history when the familiar is intruded by political turbulence, uncertainty, and the anxiety of displacement. Mondal imagines a new sense of place, an abandoned garden of humanity, grown weary and desolate. Whereas Sareena Khemka explores the residual virtue of the landscape. Khemka's layered two-dimensional topographical works and three-dimensional sculptures provide a new representational strategy with complex mapping of spaces to make us realise the difficulty of locating oneself more accurately in the flux of changes that has led to the formation of contemporary landscapes. Her works foreground the fragments of remains that are accrued by the urban terrain, not only physical but also of immaterial memories. Suryakant Swain also poignantly depicted another trajectory of the urban experience related to built spaces. In his series of architectural drawings, Swain captures the unfinished nature of the production of built spaces in the city, reinforcing that landscape is a constantly changing constructed concept. Their topographical experience is based on actual, ordinary, and self-consciously contemporary experience of the space and place.