By D N Singh
When silence prevails, whispers speak and one needs to have that feel to listen to those whispers. Artist Ayesha Singh does have that quality to listen and celebrate that in her own way and turn reality to profundity.
A solo exhibition at Delhi the above artist dealt with past and present when many things obtained voice and many were left unsaid.
At Delhi's Nature Morte 'Monumental Turns' held recently, where she created three new sculptural installations, responding to the spaces of the gallery that had been inside her for three years in the making.
She says in these times of continuous ideological shifts, the significance of monuments and memories has become more prominent in her readings and conversations.
"Since 2017, I have been researching monument aesthetics, to unpack their visuality and connotations. The pandemic further propelled me to delve into 3D software where I began to skew historical architecture to create totemic forms akin to the 'Hybrid Amalgamations' drawings on view at the exhibition. Today, three years later, this exhibition brings together the culmination of these explorations," she told this author.
This Delhi-born artist, who completed her MFA in Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London, works with drawings, performance, installation, sculpture and video to question the assumed permanence of buildings and the histories omitted during construction and restoration. Her work involves subversive actions that highlight existing socio-political hierarchies and the assertion of established systems of power in architecture.
The works in the latest exhibition stress the fact that the ancient continues to breathe, consistently shaping our present, specifically 'Frayed Continuum' which is a machine that dips nine 50-90-year-old wooden architectural fragments into cement, speaking to continuous alteration and the assertion of the past beneath the facade of new construction.
"'Monumental Turns' also delves into the opposite simultaneously, drawing references to ways in which our past is altered by present value systems and the dominating ideologies. The works here point to so many of the complexities we encounter in cities, including shifting power dynamics, the desire for belonging, imagined futures, and erasures," Ayesha further stated.
Talking about Delhi, a vast city, that she says is spread in a way that one cannot fully know each crevice of it, Singh asserts that she does have a strong sense of belonging to many spaces there, albeit transientmay not have encountered before, or rediscover a familiar space through changed perspectives such as revisiting the Qutub Complex for 'Skewed Histories'."
"My research often takes me to areas I never knew, who reveals the politics and power in a building's layers, believes scale, material and form affect how we maneuver through and around architecture. From spaces of worship to governance, the way we behave and the subconscious relations we develop with a building are initially, and intentionally, dictated via design.
While architecture is often perceived as passive, it plays a far more active role in our everyday experience of a city. My work often looks at those personal experiences of larger decision-making that surpass individual agency, and the connotative functioning of their construction. To further that, towards questioning accepted histories, collective fact-making, and their proven malleability through architecture.
About the Author: DN Singh is a Bhubaneswar-based senior journalist.
DISCLAIMER: This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.