After closing down its shutters for three years, the refurbished Palette Art Gallery once again opened its doors to the art connoisseurs in the city with a group show titled, ‘Long Story Short’ where works of modernists and contemporary artists are displayed. The works are on view until October 17.
Works of artists like Amit Ambalal, Arpita Singh, BhupenKhakhar, KGSubramanyan, Gopikrishna, BV Swetha, Prasad KP, R. Magesh, MadhuVenugopalan, PS Jalaja and Umesh PK are displayed at the gallery.
Kanika Anand has curated this exhibition and according to her, this is a cross-generational exhibition that explores narrative painting and the varied forms of visual storytelling. The works are thematically connecting because of their figurative and narrative content. Not joined by a theme, the most of the collection comes from gallery directors’ Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna’s personal collection. There is a strong element of figurations that dominates the show and highlights their different practices and preoccupations.
While there is no such obvious connection, there are many underlying themes stitching the works together and initiating a dialogue between them. For instance, Magesh’s diptych, ‘Lemuria’ depicts a boat full of people approaching towards ashore in the dark of the night — the reference is deliberate and hints at the refugee crisis that has engulfed the world. Walking a similar line is PS Jalaja’s ‘Boat People’ work wherein people of different races are huddled together on a rickety boat which is sailing on a choppy ocean, again hinting at the refugee crisis. Likewise, Arpita Singh’s ‘Untitled’ works highlight her preoccupation with a woman’s body and how this reference hasn’t still changed in today’s social context. Toeing on similar lines is BV Swetha’s work that addresses social and cultural stigma from the point of view of a woman. Her work titled, “A celebration in the Land of Red” depicts a wedding ceremony- the bride in the center with the groom and her parents on either side. A beating heart is placed amidst the fanfare that surrounds the bride and her extended-community that collectively decide her place within it. She also brings the woman into the space of critical social discourse.
From curatorial note
Long Story Short presents an anthology of short stories — vignettes of everyday life in India, scrambled anew from mythology, personal experiences, and memories, or from the fraught social imbalances of a growing urban populace. The artist canvas serves as a space to critique society as well as a space to retreat into one’s deepest thoughts and desires. Observations are woven into fiction, leading down a never-ending rabbit hole, indulging not only the artist’s own imaginations but also those of their viewers. The tension of the opposites plays out between the historical and contemporary, real and imagined in a series of works that tell tales of heroism and trepidation, power and loss, life and death. Compositionally, the works allow for various points of entry, positioning the viewer as co-author in completing a story.