The world acclaimed artist, Bharti Kher has consistently explored ways of art-making through a wide variety of materials since the beginning of her professional artistic practice in the 1990s.
Her life-size sculpture of a dying elephant, entitled “The Skin Speaks a Language Not its Own” and created in 2006, remains one of her most iconic works and endures as a benchmark of maturity for contemporary art from India.
Kher’s latest show, Strange Attractors, opened at Nature Morte on December 5 . Hosted at Dhan Mill compounds, the exhibition is a showcase of a selection of recent sculptures from 2017 to 2021. Kher usually ruminates over materials, found objects, and works-in-progress in her studio for many years, allowing their final avatars to coalesce at their own pace.
The title of the exhibition, “Strange Attractors,” refers to a mathematical concept elaborated within Chaos Theory, that all matter is unique and non-arbitrary.
Never closing in on themselves, strange attractors remain constantly in motion. The artist aligns her process to this idea, and approaches the making of sculpture as dynamic encounters.
For Kher, the object is a composite of opposites and contradictions, sitting both somewhere and nowhere simultaneously, a configuration of material and object creating its own universe and dialogue.
The artist calls this a “push and pull of material and meaning,” the fluctuations between time and space akin to the flow of breath in and out of the body. Kher has chosen to exhibit these works together precisely because they reference and relate to the body, albeit the body in multiple manifestations, and the spaces both outside of and within the body: physical, psychological, and mythical. Bodies, human, magical, and animal, are present, reconfigured, hidden, compressed, and extrapolated.
Where in the past we would have interpreted these strategies of collage and juxtaposition as having a Surrealist pedigree (pertaining to the domains of the subconscious and the irrational), today they appear as something similar to Realism. The works are Kher’s responses to how we move through life and its multiple experiences, both personal and political.
As the artist has states: “The way we move through the world isn’t random or un-noticed, I want to believe that it is connected to all things and everything. The body is a transmitter and a receiver and all things are seen. The wind sees the trees and the tree sees the cicada who sees the sun that sees you sleeping. Space inside and space outside are all connected by threads that weave the stories of the universe.”
On till January 19, the show is a must visit.