> Memento Mori

Clare Arni

, Samit Das

, Soghra Khurasani

, Saju Kunhan

, Tanmoy Samanta

, Vishwa Shroff

, Suruchi Choksi 

, Payal Kapadia 

, Zishaan Akbar Latif 

, Katsushi Goto

12 June - 24 July, 2015

Memento Mori is a group exhibition featuring the works of Clare Arni, Suruchi Choksi, Samit Das, Payal Kapadia, Soghra Khurasani, Saju Kunhan, Zishaan Akbar Latif, Tanmoy Samanta, Katsushi Goto and Vishwa Shroff. As the name suggests, the exhibition intends to remind viewers of their mortality and of the brevity and fragility of human life. Abstracting the idea of Memento Mori, each artist explores the issue of death in both, personal and collective contexts. In their individual practices, the artists approach the idea of ephemerality and the act of archiving with the inevitable sense of loss and nostalgia of that which once was.

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Clare Arni

Clare Arni is a photographer based in Bangalore, India. Her work encompasses architecture, travel, social documentary and cultural heritage. She has been published by leading British book publishers Phaidon, Thames and Hudson and Dorling Kindersley. She has also contributed work to magazines like Abitare (Italy) Tatler, Conde Nast (UK) Wallpaper, The Wall street journal and Harvard Design magazine as well as many Indian magazines. Her solo photographic books document the history of the architecture of Banaras, Palaces of the Deccan, the recent excavations of Hampi, the capital of the Vijaynagar Empire and a four month journey along the course of the river Kaveri. Her solo exhibitions document the lives of marginalized communities in some of the most remote regions of India and the disappearing trades of urban India. Her work has been exhibited Internationally at the Essl Museum, Vienna Austria, Grosvenor Vadehra, London, Bose Pacia, New York, Berkeley art museum, California and is the permanent collection of the Saatchi Gallery, London, the Freer/Sackler gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Samit Das

Born in 1970 in Jamshedpur, Samit Das began his formal artistic training at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan in 1994, where he continued on to his Masters degree two years later. In 2000, he participated in the Associate Student Post Graduate Program at the Camberwell College of Art, London. Das has also been the recipient of the BRIC scholarship which led to him spending some time in Italy in 2011.

Samit Das is deeply fascinated with documentation and the archive. Das' love for the archive and his Santiniketan roots culminated in a documentation project at the Tagore Museum in Kolkata between 1999 and 2001. He went on to work on another project in the form of an exhibition titled “The Idea of Space and Rabindranath Tagore” that was exhibited in various spaces including Lalit Kala Academy (New Delhi),  India International Centre (New Delhi) , Victoria Memorial Hall (Kolkata) and Freies Museum (Berlin). He has exhibited extensively in India and abroad while also participating in projects such as the art installation project at the international airport in Mumbai which was curated by Rajiv Sethi.

Samit Das lives and works in New Delhi.

Soghra Khurasani

Soghra Khurasani (b. 1983) began her artistic training with a Bachelors Degree in Painting at Andhra University, Vishakhapatnam. She went on to get a Masters of Visual Arts degree at M.S University, Vadodara, with a specialization in print making – a medium that has come to define his artistic practice. Soghra has had several solo exhibitions such as ‘Cratered Fiction’ curated by Sumesh Sharma at TARQ, Mumbai (2015); ‘To Speak for the Mute’, Gitler & _____ Broadway, New York, U.S.A (2015) and her debut solo – ‘One day it will come out’, curated by Hena Kapadia and Sumesh Sharma at TARQ, Mumbai (2014).

She has participated in several group exhibitions across the country; those of note are - ‘Memento Mori’, TARQ, Mumbai (2015); Regional Art Exhibition, Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai (2014); ‘Multiple Encounters’, AIFACS, New Delhi (2013); ‘Visual Evidence’, Clark House Initiative, Mumbai (2013); and ‘Interstices’— a collateral project of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012.

She was also a part of TARQ’s exhibit at the India Art Fair 2018 (New Delhi).  Soghra has been a part of numerous artist residencies such as the KHOJ-Kooshk Residency in Tehran and New Delhi (2016), National Printmaking camp conducted by the Directorate of Art and Culture, Goa (2015) and the Lalit Kala printmaking camp, Vadodara (2012). She has been the recipient of the 56th National Academy Award at Lalit Kala Akademi, Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi (2015) and Kala Sakshi Memorial Trust Award, New Delhi (2009).

 Born in Vishakhapatnam, Soghra currently lives and works in Vadodara.

Saju Kunhan

Saju Kunhan’s practice lies at the clever intersection of medium, process and archive, creating visual articulations of the important question of who dictates historical narrative and the concurrent subtext of what is left behind along the path of history-making. He articulates his musings through a meticulous process of developing a personal visual archive, from which he cherry-picks to create his rendition of a historical document.

Over the years, Saju has mastered the technique of image transfer – a process that involves a meticulous, manual transfer of an image from one surface to another. This unusual and painstaking technique has become the cornerstone of a definitive oeuvre of large format wooden ‘maps’ as well as smaller, jewel-like paintings on paper. These works, combined with the metaphorical implication of image morphing, serve as a powerful commentary on the distortion of historical narratives and its implications collective and individual identities.

Saju’s tryst with wood – his signature medium, began before his journey as an artist. As he waited to enroll as an art student, Saju channeled his creative potential by polishing furniture and painting hoardings and banners. He carried this hands-on knowledge of material into his budding art practice, beginning with small scale experiments of image transfers on wood (the Flipped Pages series is an example of this). Saju began collecting historical images from old magazine and books, creating his own interventions within them through doodles and erasures. After the images were transposed onto the coaster-size blocks, he would further engrave the surface to create a fascinating visual document which became a sliver of history, innocuously manipulated through the artist’s hand.

Taking his experiments with image transfer on wood on to a bigger canvas, Saju began working with blocks of repurposed teak wood, creating large format ‘maps’ which have become one of the key elements of his practice today. The impressive scale of these works brings a gravitas to the ‘map’ – a human construct, often fragile in its two-dimensional form, yet the arbitrator of destinies throughout history.

For works such as Winners are not judged and Whose land is it anyway, (part of his solo exhibition “Stained Geographies” at TARQ, November 2017), Saju created his version of a historical map of two iconic cities – Delhi and Mumbai respectively. The images were culled from his personal photographic archive of ethnographical and historical dioramas from museums across the country. He juxtaposed these with screenshots of contemporary Google Earth satellite images, digitally collaged and transferred onto the six panels that make up each of these wooden ‘maps’.

In his smaller format, mixed media paintings Saju’s relationship with the Mumbai – a city he came to as a student and continues to thrive in as an artist, comes to the fore. The Make In – While Burning series was inspired by some of the catastrophic events of the city’s recent past. Saju used images of the metropolis’ iconic buildings, using a combination of transfer and burning processes to create, magnificently iridescent tableaus of apocalyptic twilights.

Saju’s works are a peculiar and intriguing as they collapse the past and the present to create a document that does not necessarily owe allegiance to historical accuracy, but serves as a document to the way we look at history. The individual becomes an archetype in the scheme of Saju’s sepia-toned landscapes, thereby opening up a vital conversation about our place along the broad arc of civilization.

Tanmoy Samanta

Born in 1973, Tanmoy Samanta began his artistic journey at the Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan, West Bengal, followed by training at the Kanoria Arts Centre, Ahmedabad. His career has seen a number of solo exhibitions including three with the New Delhi based Gallery Espace and one at Anant Art Gallery, Kolkata.  Samanta’s show at TARQ in 2014, titled ‘The Shadow Trapper’s Almanac’, curated by Ranjit Hoskote, marked his first solo exhibition in Mumbai.

Over the years, Samanta has been a part of group shows across India and abroad. Besides finding a presence in numerous art fairs such as Art Dubai, Dhaka Art Summit, Art Chennai and the India Art Fair, his works are a part of several prestigious public art projects such as the installation at the Hyatt Regency, Delhi (2016), a site specific collaborative project at IIM Amedabad (2016), T-2 Liminus, Mumbai International Airport (2013) and Bee-Hive at the Hyatt Regency, Chennai (2011) – both curated by Rajiv Sethi. In 2002, Samanta artistic practice was recognized and celebrated with an award from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York, USA.

He lives and works in New Delhi.

Vishwa Shroff

Vishwa Shroff’s artistic practise is firmly rooted in drawing, with a proclivity towards architectural forms that serve as compelling take-off points for a deeper contemplation on memory and our relationship with the material world. Her works seek to explore the narratives of lived experiences that lay embedded within surfaces. Mundane accidents and absent-minded aberrations – a missing tile in a floor for example – simultaneously become signifiers of the presence of absence and the potential of a future presence. Through her sensitive observation, Shroff chronicles the banal to unravel the sublime within it.

The sharp lines and the intense detailing underscore her meticulous approach to her medium of choice. While Shroff often includes watercolour (and more recently, gold leaf) in her drawings, the precision of the drawn line forms the definitive aspect of her oeuvre. Shroff’s works are born within the space of her sketchbook. The initial sketches metamorphose into detailed works that are the product of observation and interpretation. The drawings within the modest space of the sketchbook are sometimes substantially enlarged to the scale of installations, as seen in her “Corridors” series. The format of the book, however, remains close to Shroff. She has worked extensively with this format in the past and continues to use it as the base for the initial framework.

Shroff’s love for architecture and the stories that are folded within it is apparent in her “Party Wall” series that form something of a cornerstone in her practice. Her work on the “Party Wall” (shorthand for partisan walls that lie concealed between two buildings) began in 2015 while she was in London and has since, developed into the ‘Tokyo series’ and most recently, the ‘Interim Party Wall’ series inspired by her travels in Ho Chi Minh, London, Vadodara and Rome. The  Party Walls were presented along with two other series – ‘Transitions’ and ‘Guards at the Taj’, at TARQ’s debut participation at Art Basel Hong Kong 2018.

The ‘Transitions’ series is a continuation of Shroff’s observation of floors in spaces of historical significance. These jewel-like works, created using watercolour and ink on paper, evoke the patient precision of a miniaturist’s hand. For Shroff, the discreet, unusual disjoints are the repositories of many collective and individual histories. The ‘Guards at the Taj’ on the other hand, started out as a project to create a set for a play of the same title. It has extended beyond its initial purpose to mark an interesting aesthetic development as she moves away  from her definitive stark, Japanese-inspired aesthetic to a more animated and whimsical style.

Speaking about her relationship with drawing, Shroff says – “With drawings placed firmly at the centre of my practice, I experiment with drawing techniques, bringing attention to exaggerated marks, break points and the richness of line itself...(her works) aspire to become perimeters within which momentary recollections and personal musings are sustained.”

Shroff started her artist training at The Faculty of Fine Arts, MSU, Baroda in 2002 after which, she continued on to the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (UK) in 2003. She has had five solo exhibitions in India, the UK and USA as well as several group shows. She has also participated in several artist residencies, most recently at the Swiss Cottage Gallery in Camden, London. Her work was a part of TARQ’s presentation at the India Art Fair 2017 and most recently, at Art Basel Hong Kong 2018.

Shroff currently lives and works between Mumbai and Tokyo

Suruchi Choksi 

is a self-taught artist. Having grown up in Kolkata and working presently out of Mumbai, her works grapples with the issues of space, limits, absence and elsewhere. Her work is abstract, and by contesting the division between the realms of memory and the realm of experience she makes works that are intensely personal.

Payal Kapadia 

is a filmmaker and artist from Mumbai, India. Her work includes documentary, experimental film, and animation. Her current works are concerned with nature and the memory of a human-nature relationship by examining texts such as the Upanishads, as well as myths and folktales from across the country.

Zishaan Akbar Latif 

Zishaan Akbar Latif is a Mumbai based photographer and videographer. He has photographed for several non-profit organizations in India and describes his style as intuitive, passionate, and personal. His work has been featured in both commercial and non-commercial collections, exhibitions and publications worldwide.

Katsushi Goto

work explores the spatial and narrative possibilities of fragmented, transitional thoughts and the transferring attentions with which objects are perceived. The practices of artist, Vishwa Shroff and urbanist and architect Goto, find their place in the four artist books that they have collaborated on in the past. 


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