On view till Oct 4th | 11am - 6pm
Archival photographs by SANJAY DAS
with terracotta installations by RAHUL MODAK
Curated by Monica Jain
Historical note by Uma Nair
I have an undying love for the timeless. The more ephemeral it is, the more everlasting my appreciation of it. I like to catch the fleeting and wonder if it can become permanent. The dichotomy fascinates and engages me. How does an artist make the ephemeral, eternal? The hands that built with stone knew they were building for eternity. But what of terracotta? Did the hands that mould the soft clay in Bishnupur hundreds of years ago, know that it would last this long? How does such a soft, impermanent material transform into buildings of such breathtaking beauty that have survived till today? Perhaps it is that many events must come together for us to witness these vestiges of history. Perhaps, those events are made up of a series of epic moments when some like Rahul Modak put their hands together to shape soft clay that stands the test of time and some, like Sanjay Das pick up the camera.
With the photo-archival works of the terracotta temples of Bankura and Murshidabad district in West Bengal, Delhi based photographer Sanjay Das builds a case for such a paradox. ‘Engineered’ with locally found, fine alluvial clay baked to hardness, these temples have withstood the passage of time.
Four hundred years of time has lapsed between the making and the mulling; yet the monument and its image merit from the long exposure- one of the sun and the other of the camera aperture as somewhat equals. The series of works exhibited at this show is a culmination of decades of his travelling, shooting, documenting and studying them and bear testimony to his depth in the field and breadth of experience. Through this riveting repository of his works, the terracotta edifices of the past once again relive their moments of medieval glory in the hope for survival, preservation and continuity into the future.
As we shift in time we also move in space. From the darkroom to the kiln is a very different journey. Artist Rahul Modak builds edifices in terracotta in the present that evoke a feeling of the past. Painstakingly hand moulding clay into leaves that remind him of his days in Shantiniketan as he walked over dried folioles that crunched under his feet, Rahul constructs daring monuments from his delicate memories. He moulds them out of the leaf of the Arjuna tree - the Terninalia Arjuna whose are fed on by the silk moth to produce the tussar silks of Bengal. These have become monuments of a contemporary visual language that stand face to face with the constructs of the past.
So does the paradox stands resolved or enhanced?