In 2018, the BDL Museum conceptualised an exhibition inviting ten artists, whose practice includes an interest in nature and science or consumption and degradation as process and product, to respond to these ideas and to explore the much-debated Age of the Anthropocene and its impact on the environment and the effects on biodiversity.
The exhibition endeavoured to articulate a visual vocabulary that addresses these issues. Each artist explored a different theme such as alienation, pollution, destruction of biodiversity, unnatural divisions, mutations and distortions, the politics of water and waste and the destruction of landscapes and rivers.
Aquasaurus (2008) by Jitish KallatDr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Kallat’s work has been engaged with questions about sustenance, life cycles, historical events and natural phenomena. 'Aquasaurus' was installed at the same location where in the 1870s, the skeleton of a whale procured by the Museum was mounted.
Untitled (2018) by Manish NaiDr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Nai’s works engage in complex processes and protocols of creation, recalling ethics of fabrication that appears mostly lost in the frenzy of mass-scale production, hence inviting the audience to reflect on the extraordinary potential of art to renew and rethink the mundane.
I have only one language; it is not mine (2014) by Mithu SenDr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
I have only one language; it is not mine
This multi-media installation engaged with the idea of radical hospitality, exploring the limitations of language and the possibility of dialogue outside it. Sen spent several days at a home for minor female orphans who were victims of abuse. Sen sought to surrender herself to this group who became her host during the days the performance unfolded.
Vaitarni (2017) by Atul BhallaDr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
The artist's practice navigates issues relating to water. He explores myths about the Vaitarna River, encountered after death in one's journey toward heaven. The mythical river does not contain water; it is a river full of blood, heaps of rotting bones and flesh on its banks.
Spheres (2017) by Rohini DevasherDr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Devasher creates imagined worlds in her work evoking both wonder and awe. Spheres is somewhere between reality and fiction. Shot on-site at the Mt. Aso caldera in Japan, the site is re-imagined; we seem to be looking inside some form of hollowed-out space, a sphere or cylinder.
Hyphenated Lives, Earth Citizens & Siamese Trees; Installation View (2014) by Reena Saini KallatDr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Hyphenated Lives, Earth Citizens & Siamese Trees
Reena Saini Kallat
Reena Saini Kallat
19th-century books from the BDL Museum library prompted three of the most recent drawings from Reena Kallat’s series of works titled Hyphenated Lives. The drawings are hybrids formed by the merger of species appropriated as national symbols by India and Pakistan.
Shadow 3 (2007) by Shilpa GuptaDr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
With Shadows 3, Gupta enquires into blurred relationships between different entities. In the projection, the viewer becomes an active participant in the unfolding narrative where fragments of the aftermath from an environment under rampage, begin to re-enter our lives.
Capsule (2012) by Prajakta PotnisDr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Potnis's photographs have a hallucinatory form, inviting the viewer to enter a strange world that seems both real and unreal. Its captivating light is reminiscent of the inside of a mall or an airport, where you lose a sense of time and place.
Watcher (2018) by Sahej RahalDr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
The Walker references ideas around mythology, difference and otherness. Made using found objects this sculpture appears as an archaeological excavation as well as a mutated being arriving from the future. Playing on this pull between the past and future this walker serves as a constant reminder of the whirl of our contemporary existence.
House of Opaque Water (2012) by Ranbir KalekaDr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
House of Opaque Water
The Forest is full of metaphorical events, which have a universal resonance. This work can be described as an open-ended work about ‘rejuvenation’ in a period of ‘confusion’ and ‘strife’.
Participating artists: Atul Bhalla, Jitish Kallat, Manish Nai, Mithu Sen, Prajakta Potnis, Ranbir Kaleka, Reena Kallat, Rohini Devasher, Sahej Rahal and Shilpa Gupta.
Special thanks to Galerie Mirchandani, Vadehra Gallery, Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA), Project 88, Chatterjee and Lal, and Volte Art Projects.