Family is Plural

Family is Plural

Shaheen Merali

Kulfat(Discomfort)

The ultimate goal of desire in this time has come to represent the dissipation of truth and rights, as well as the depletion of planetary resources. Overarching despair has come to licit half-truths and falsehoods that now sustain the world's affair.

The hypocrisy that the present condition has produced commodifies one's own essence, here the networks of greed and, subsequently, hate has made injustice and its place in the manifestation and operation of a climate of heightened fear and part of an embodied globalisation.

How do we individually understand the history of loss?

In the case of the Delhi-based socially engaged artist, Probir Gupta employs, in his paintings, sculptures and installation work, a complex interwoven narrative structure. The result is an immersive image wherein fragments of human activity blend, float to be further crafted by the viewers’ personal knowledge and imagination. The ambition of the artist has always been to resolve the constructed sites of crisis with the minutiae of details from often his own observation of isolated acts of compassion or duty to humankind.

Kulfat(Discomfort)

In Gupta’s images, one finds a genuine set of concerns which provide a set of transitory compositions from transnational communities that together create new ‘half-forms’ from these observed moments by the artist and his locality as well as from past travels. The collective framing organises these parts or sometimes suggests possibilities in their unrealised forms. Throughout his images, one is drawn by the skill set necessary for the audience to comprehend the diverse aspects that tactically reveal the prospect in empathy and care.

Such a sovereign practice with indentured articulations including race, gender and caste make use of modernist visual art tropes to suggest both immediacy and the place of the infinitesimal event in the making of history. The inventive use of chroma and the place of camouflage is an innovative source of language that is both a difficult space of multiple encounters, yet allows Gupta to embed the necessary to re-examine trauma in the pursuit of our ethnographic tele-visual lives.

A number of works result from his collage’s bewildering results that help alter or inverse perspectives and the historical coda. The overall result is a pool of sensual, defused, dis-coloured hues that train the eye and the mind to track the violence of local and transhistorical volatility.

London, Nov 2019

Shaheen Merali is a curator, critic and writer, currently based in London. He explores the intersection of art,cultural identity and global histories in his work.

The exhibition, Family is Plural, featuring recent works by Probir Gupta was in display at Bikaner House, New Delhi from 6th December to 29th December, 2019.

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