Rediscover mankind’s ancient link with nature at this Bhau Daji Lad museum exhibit in Mumbai
The exhibit opens on January 19 and is on till March 27mumbai Updated: Jan 19, 2018 11:03 IST
“After death, you encounter the Vaitarani river in your journey towards heaven. It is full of blood, pus, mucus, with heaps of rotting bones and flesh on its banks. In your effort to cross, you encounter grotesque creatures that are your karma. I believe that we are already in this river,” says artist Atul Bhalla, whose work is part of Asymmetrical Objects, an exhibition at Bhau Daji Lad museum.
The exhibit opens today and is on till March 27, featuring installations by nine other prominent artists, including Jitish Kallat, Prajakta Potnis, Ranbir Kaleka and Sahej Rahal. The title is derived from the much-debated concept of the Anthropocene epoch, an age defined by the impact of humans on Earth’s geology and ecosystems. In this phase, according to philosopher Timothy Morton, art is asymmetrical.
The theme is also a tip of the hat to the 10th anniversary of the reopening of the museum, after its Unesco award-winning restoration. “Nature and science were the founding principles of the museum even when it was established in 1857 and they are just as significant now,” says honorary museum director Tasneem Mehta. “The works explore the relationship of man with the environment. They work with ideas like alienation, pollution, destruction of biodiversity, politics of water and waste.”
Bhalla’s Vaitarani was inspired by images shot along the banks of the Vaitarna river as it heads towards the dam that supplies water to the city. “Water, which has always been a symbol of life and purification, is also a symbol of inner life,” he says.
Prajakta Potnis’s Capsule takes you inside a refrigerator to find a pair of silent and still mini-escalators, a commentary on the very confusing nature of our times.
Sahej Rahal’s playful yet strange sculpture made from found objects takes us beyond the immediacy of the impacts of man on nature. The Walker references ideas from mythology and otherness to render a creature that “could be from an excavation or a mutant from the future”.
In Jitish Kallat’s work, we are taken back to the era of the dinosaurs. His Aquasaurus is the grinning skeleton of a huge mythical beast shaped like a water tanker.
Some of the installations are accompanied by engaging videos.