With forms that separate structures such as columns separating floor from ceiling, skirting which separates wall from floor, cornices which separate ceiling from wall, and even faux-flooring which separates the floor surface from the ground, artist Hemali Bhuta has tried to explore the concept of a line, that not just separates end points but also connects them. These works are inspired by minimalism and line drawing and they look at small interventions toward beauty in daily life. The works, which are part of the exhibition, Point-Shift and Quoted Objects, will open tomorrow at Project 88.
Structure in case
“A point that goes for a walk makes a line. In this exhibition, the line is a sort of mass that acts as a divide, a slit, boundary, joint or crack. It starts from this basic understanding. A point leads to a line,” explains Bhuta. “The exhibition looks at the disillusion of space. If there is a collapse of a column, the structure collapses,” she adds.
In the exhibition, she has made a graphite column that stands in addition to an existing column in the gallery. “The graphite column stands on the strength of the existing column. I have also made a slit in it, which makes it even more vulnerable. But that column is made of graphite, which is also used in nuclear reactors. And hence it has the potential to destroy the other column. Such contradictions can be seen in each of the works on display,” explains the 34-year-old artist.
There are two discreet ways in which she works that are highlighted in this exhibition. “One is an experiential environment and looks at myself working on the artworks. The other level is the material sourced from people working in small-scale industries. They have no clue how these works are used and what makes it work,” she adds.
She has also been working on an installation at the Mumbai Art Room. The installation created using Silica sand blocks draws from surrounding architectural space. Mumbai Art Room’s location was first a two-car garage, then a karate studio, and in early 2011 was refurbished to become a contemporary exhibition space.
During that renovation, a large nest of white ants (termites) was discovered inhabiting one of the walls, producing a few small puckers in the wall’s surface. “I have built a sort of termite wall taking into consideration the history of the space. The installation looks at the intervention of insects into human space,” explains Bhuta.
She has conceived the construction of a wall jutting into the exhibition space, halving it into two distinct areas, and showing a raw edge made with the material used in termite barriers to ward off inundations of white ants.
“The installation and the works at the exhibition are both drawing on similar lines. They respond to the existing space and that’s why they are being held simultaneously,” she adds.