A solo exhibition of sculptures, physical and digital installations, titled, Between Body and Imagination, Shovin Bhattacharjee’s Inner Quest
Is being held at Dhoomimal Art Gallery in New Delhi.
Curated by the artist himself, the exhibition covers the works done over the period of the last four years and is an amalgamation of Shovin’s thematic concerns.
First planned for 2019, the show was postponed due to the lockdown of the first and second waves of the dreaded COVID 19 pandemic. The artist, however, emerges from the shadows to celebrate humankind’s ability to overcome adversary and survive despite the challenges.
To create his sculptures, Shovin prefers to work in the medium of stainless steel, aluminium, and wood. “Stainless steel is a medium that I enjoy working with even though it is very demanding and unforgiving. Unlike bronze that may be melted and recast and reused, in stainless steel, when one makes a mistake, one usually has to junk the entire piece and start afresh. Which is why one has to work meticulously with lots of precision and planning,” he shares.
Shovin who works with a selected team of technicians to create his larger sculptural pieces.
Shovin’s paintings are primarily created in acrylic and charcoal on canvas.
Thematically, they deal with animal life engaging with urbanity. In one of his works he humorously uses the self as an onlooker, where a tiny image of the self is balanced on a large eyeball (that may also serve as a metaphor for the world) holding a pair of binoculars for viewing.
Another image of the self, balances the eyeball from the bottom. Dramatically all he sees, reflected back in the eye, are the rows and rows of buildings and this serves as his humorous yet dark warning of our over-populated concrete cities.
While speaking about his Digital works, from which he creates Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), Shovin indicates that creating digital work takes as much effort and dedication as it does to paint or sculpt. “I began working in digital format with my camera and computer, as early as 2002, even before I moved to New Delhi,” avers the artist.
“There was this misrepresentation that digital artwork is just about cut and paste, but I think that is changing now. People are beginning to understand that it takes as much creativity to create a digital image, whether it is from a photograph or works that you have made in 3-D in photoshop. When PHD students approach me to study about the digital world created by artists and popularized by NFTs, then I begin to feel that people are taking it seriously even in the academic circle at long last,” says the artist with a sense of relief.
Interestingly, he portrays himself within his compositions. “I often find that many of my viewers and patrons actually look for my self-portrait, within my work, whether it is my sculptural-installations or my paintings and digital work. I feel the artist is always a part of their art but using the self has now become ‘my metaphor’, for it is not just symbolic of myself but it also represents the ‘other’. The Common Man, who can connect immediately to my work and my situation where I am engaging with my surroundings to discover the mystery of life,” says the artist philosophically.
The exhibition is on till January 10, 2022.