Dedicated to his fashion designer mother, Viraj Khanna’s new show is an experiment with thematic layers & an entry into Metaverse

by Team ACF
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A solo show by a young and upcoming artist, Viraj Khanna, titled “What My Mother Didn’t Teach Me… & Some Things She Did!” opened recently at the Tao Art Gallery in Mumbai. With this show, Tao Art Gallery is also launching its first ever NFT (Non Fungible Token) showcase where Viraj’s art will be on display for Mumbai Gallery Weekend 2022. “Along with the physical canvas and sculpture works, Viraj will be launching three NFTs exclusively for this solo exhibition,” the gallery shared.

With paper collage as its primary base, Viraj Khanna builds up the narrative using different elements from various magazines, encyclopaedias, and other books to give it a shape. The exhibit comprises pictorial elements that range from different trees, parts of peoples’ bodies, and different accessories/shapes. The mediums and techniques explored by Viraj show the level of an experimentation that is characteristic of the various thematic layers he dapples with.

“I have been thinking a lot about my work after my first show and that has made me much bolder in my approach toward painting,” said Viraj about his new show. Viraj is the son of famous fashion designer, Anamika Khanna and has been a part of the family business. “The idea of “vulnerability” is reflected upon strongly with stronger imagery depicted through the figurative elements of the artwork. The new introduction of textile is helping portray visually the way I look at things. My paintings have moved from canvas collages to paper collages,” he shared.

Viraj’s sculptures and paintings with their exaggerated features and multiple faces depict this behavioural adaptation due to the influences of society. “There is a constant battle between our raw, natural, and conditioned forms. Eventually, the artwork reflects my life and its influences because I have to consciously decide what works in the experiment and what does not. It has to agree with my sense of balance, colour and taste,” he said.

 “When I first interacted with Viraj’s work, I was completely taken in by how evocative each piece was. The shapes, forms, and colours stood out starkly but then came together in an incredibly aesthetic form. The mediums and processes explored by him show the level of an experiment that is characteristic of the myriad thematic layers he is dappling with,” said Sanjana Shah, Independent Curator and Creative Director – Tao Art Gallery, commenting on the upcoming show.

Fluid and organic, removing all forms of restriction in the creative process, the exhibition offers a great opportunity to the audiences to witness a glorious deconstruction and reconstruction of identities and ideologies. 

“I think collage as a medium really helps to bridge the gap between an idea and its execution. It gives you something extra to work with & constantly innovate… therefore I think the medium is only going to grow. Let’s not forget, Picasso and Braque started to use collage to express themselves through their art!” said Viraj.

The Indian art world, for the very first time, is making an attempt to enter the Metaverse space. The NFTs are being touted as the next big thing when it comes to virtual/digital art collection. “The NFT scene in India is at an initial stage and there is no way to predict where it will go. But, they say that in a few years, we could see digital recreations of ourselves in the metaverse living there just like the real world. So, the NFTs available now could be significant collectables or assets owned by people on the metaverse!” he said, speaking on the NFT.

According to him, a lot would depend on the government’s decision to define NFTs and tax digital assets as only that will only clear out the non serious buyers. How that really pans out, only time will tell.

The exhibition is on display until Sunday, April 3

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