Primo Marella Gallery has the great pleasure to present ‘Drift’ the first solo exhibition in Europe dedicated to the renowned Indian artist Reena Saini Kallat (born 1973) who has exhibited widely across the world. Her work has been shown in exhibitions such as Chalo! India: A New Era of Indian Art, Mori Art Museum, Japan, National Museum of Korea and Essl Museum, Vienna; India Moderna, IVAM Museum, Valencia, Spain; Urban Manners at Hangar Bicocca, Milan; Thermocline Of Art- New Asian Waves at ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany; Soft Power: Asian Attitude at Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai, New Narratives: Contemporary Art From India at the Chicago Cultural Centre, India Express – Art and Popular Culture, Art Museum Tennispalace, Helsinki City Art Museum, Finland; The Tree From The Seed, Contemporary Art from India, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (Oslo), Norway amongst many others.
Reena’s multi-faceted oeuvre has gained wide recognition in recent years for the remarkable ease and alertness with which she tackles several complex themes across a range of media including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing and video.
Within this exhibition, an extraordinarily eloquent body of work is the series titled ‘Synonym’. The works stand like screens holding up portraits formed by several hundred names of people rendered in scripts of over 14 Indian languages. From a distance they come together as portraits, but up-close they almost seem like a circuit-board of rubberstamps. The rubberstamps are made with names of those officially registered as having gone missing in India, while the back of each portrait appears like a sea of invisible identities, a bird’s eye view of a large human congregation.
In her sculptures such as “White Heat (The Ironing Board)” or the seminal video work “Silt of Seasons-I”, the highly guarded relationship that India shares with its neighbour Pakistan and the uncertain nature of the peace process between the countries become the central focus. The works
playfully render the frustrations of the never-ending dialogue; any attempts at ironing out creases in the peace process are sabotaged by conflicting interests and with the misuse of religion as a divisive tool by both countries.
What continues to interest this remarkable artist is the idea of representation, which is fundamental to painting, and the possibilities it carries for the generation of meaning through a calibrated interplay of image and form. In ‘Closet Quarries’ she chooses to work with the captivating inlays of the Taj Mahal and overlay them with a history invisible to the naked eye.
In a separate register is the major sculptural installation titled ‘Saline’, where Reena re-constructs imagery from the myths of the past and re-incarnates them with renewed meaning suggestive of the historical present.