Dhoomimal Gallery is launching Between Body and Imagination, Shovin Bhattacharjee’s Inner Quest, an exhibition of sculptures, physical and digital installations. Curated by the artist himself, the exhibition covers the works done over the period of the last four years, and is an amalgamation of Shovin’s thematic concerns.
Having planned to host a solo in 2019, the show was postponed due to the lockdown of the first and second waves of the dreaded COVID 19 pandemic. The artist however emerges from the shadows to celebrate humankind’s ability to overcome adversary and survive despite the challenges.
Shovin is an artist who expresses himself across mediums and metaphors, whether it is his sculptures, installations, paintings or even his digital work that manifest these days as popular NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) which he began creating long before it became a craze as it is today.
Having trained to be a painter with a B.F.A and an M.F.A. in Painting from Fine Arts Department, Assam University, Bhattacharjee has always believed in artistic freedom to express himself in different mediums. Each work is built up meticulously with detailed preparation and a sharp focus on the underlying thematic content rather than just the plastic qualities of the medium. Ultimately it is the message that is paramount to the artist.
To create his sculptures Shovin prefers to work in the medium of stainless steel, aluminium, and wood. “Stainless steel is a medium that I enjoy working with even though it is very demanding and unforgiving. Unlike bronze that may be melted and recast and reused, in stainless steel, when one makes a mistake, one usually has to junk the entire piece and start afresh. Which is why one has to work meticulously with lots of precision and planning,” says Shovin who works with a selected team of technicians to create his larger sculptural pieces.
Shovin’s paintings are primarily created in acrylic and charcoal on canvas. Thematically they deal with animal life engaging with urbanity. In one of his works he humorously uses the self as an onlooker, where a tiny image of the self is balanced on a large eyeball (that may also serve as a metaphor for the world) holding a pair of binoculars for viewing.
Another image of the self, balances the eyeball from the bottom. Dramatically all he sees, reflected back in the eye, are the rows and rows of buildings and this serves as his humorous yet dark warning of our over-populated concrete cities.
While speaking about his Digital works, from which he creates NFTs, Shovin indicates that creating digital work takes as much effort and dedication as it does to paint or sculpt. “I began working in digital format with my camera and computer, as early as 2002, even before I moved to New Delhi,” avers the artist.
“There was this misrepresentation that digital artwork is just about cut and paste, but I think that is changing now. People are beginning to understand that it takes as much creativity to create a digital image, whether it is from a photograph or works that you have made in 3-D in photoshop. When PHD students approach me to study about the digital world created by artists and popularized by NFTs, then I begin to feel that people are taking it seriously even in the academic circle at long last,” says the artist with a sense of relief.
Interestingly, he portrays himself within his compositions. “I often find that many of my viewers and patrons actually look for my self-portrait, within my work, whether it is my sculptural-installations or my paintings and digital work. If I present a work where I am not there, they ask me, Shovin , where are you? I feel the artist is always a part of their art but using the self has now become ‘my metaphor’, for it is not just symbolic of myself but it also represents the ‘other’. The Common Man, who can connect immediately to my work and my situation where I am engaging with my surroundings to discover the mystery of life,” says the artist philosophically.
The artist strongly believes that in a post-covid scenario we all can have a little more compassion in our approach. “The world has changed after COVID. Nature itself has taught us that we cannot ignore our surroundings to the point that it endangers our lives,” says the artist. He also believes that ironically the digital and virtual world did help us survive the pandemic by keeping connected to each other and gave us hope for the future.
Talking about the exhibition Uday Jain, Director Dhoomimal Gallery says, “Dhoomimal has a long history of supporting artists to show fresh works and new mediums. Like Jeram Patel with his blow torch works or Satish Gujral with his burnt wood sculptures, all these were first shown at Dhoomimal. However, in recent years, sculptures or other experimental forms haven’t been shown much at the gallery, but with the space now completely renovated, we hope to do more shows that are contemporary and fresh, and Shovin’s solo is the first for this cultural season, highlighting his digital artworks that combine the aesthetics of both his painting and sculpture and creating a new dimension. We hope that the show will be seen by a large number of people, particularly the younger generation.”
For more information on the exhibition or gallery please visit www.dhoomimalgallery.art