Swimmer’s Manual and Other Stories

Recent paintings by Natraj Sharma

In collaboration with Vadehra Art Gallery

APR 8, 2018 - MAY 11, 2018

Special Project Space

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum in collaboration with Vadehra Art Gallery, presents, ‘Swimmer's Manual and Other Stories’, recent paintings by Natraj Sharma.

“There’s no such thing as purity or perfection. The pursuit of which is at best a fool’s errand and at worst, dangerous. I have always been interested in mixing media, in mixed media, in mixing every damned thing up. And sometimes, if you strike lucky, you might even come close to a divine dissonance.”

Born in Mysore in 1958, the son of a restless, migratory Father, Nataraj grew up in Ethiopia, England and Zambia. The years that were spent as an outlander from the early 1960s to the late 1970s may have given him a permanent sense of the ambivalence, the plurality, and the sometimes shocking variability of the world. His childhood experience of displacement, relocation, re-acclimatisation and revised self-definition very probably informs his refusal and contrariness to be slotted or defined within a box carpentered for him by ideologues, theorists or fellow artists.. His work is formed and nurtured by a richly hybrid genetic code. Print-making meets Collage, Photography meets Painting, Topography meets Abstraction, the Manual meets the Mechanical. He savours the interplay of polarities: in his paintings and sculptures, his graphics and new-media works, we observe an expressive interplay between panorama and detail, dream and wakefulness, memory and transformation, planning and improvisation, the works of technology and the workings of nature. His work here is powered by the sense of creative instability and non-closure, the need to resolve the riddles and sort out the arrears and investments of the imaginative process, reverie and detour. His desire to record an interplay between pattern and chance, order and distortion.

Unbalanced in the painful sum of things: such is the artist’s location, to deploy Merrill’s phrase in closing. Such is the place allotted to the witness who would respond to a plurality of demands and desires: who would seclude himself in his studio to will images into being, but would also participate in life outside the studio; who would protest the horrors of his society, but also rejoice in the majesty of things sensed and proposed from levels higher and deeper than quotidian normality. There is no respite or holiday for such an imagination, no reprieve from the instinct that is also a duty, the mandate that is the source of disquiet and pleasure.”

Ranjit Hoskote. Exerted and adapted from his essay: In a Zone of Transformation, 2006.

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About the Vadehra Art Gallery
Vadehra Art Gallery was established in 1987 in New Delhi at a time when modern Indian art was still considered exotic and its access limited to a privileged few. The gallery was born out of a vision to build an institution dedicated to Indian art, and the need for a professional platform to connect artists with art lovers.

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