a plot for the multiverse
28 June-10 August 2019, Preview- 27 June, 6 - 9 pm
indigo+madder is pleased to present a plot for the multiverse which brings together works by Shiraz Bayjoo, Amba Sayal-Bennett, Harminder Judge, Hardeep Pandhal and Himali Singh Soin. The exhibition speculates on possibilities of future landscapes and communities from perspectives beyond the western-centric cannon. Drawing from various ideas explored in popular science-fiction, space exploration and narratives from ancient voyages, the works presented in a plot for the multiverse seek to sidestep a linear notion of time. Instead of following a path from the past into the future, the five artists in this exhibition offer a glimpse into a parallel world where time is defined by alternative rhythms. A story, which ultimately allows us to re-think what it means to be in the ‘present’.
Bringing together a diverse range of practices, ideas, mediums and subjects, the works in this exhibition offer a nuanced and layered narrative which begins to question what it means to be a post-colonial subject. a plot for the multiverse takes its’ starting point in problematising colonial histories. By unearthing the hidden subject in the archive, the exhibition identifies new protagonists to retell the narrative of a collective future. Whether this is from the perspective of nature as a vibrant agent of resistance in the face of colonialism, as is revealed by Himali Singh Soin in her text work Subcontinentment; or in the entangled yearning for nationhood and nationality as expressed in the blue-green lament of Shiraz Bayjoo’s Archipelago paintings. In both artists work, there is an interest in the oceans and bodies of water as uncharted frontiers of colonisation. Through Bayjoo, there is an interest in archives, memory and the legacy of European colonialism as a way of charting Mauritian cultural identity in the context of the wider Indian Ocean region. Through Soin, the ocean becomes a point and a line that threads the intertwined fate of climate change and South Asian futures.
Hardeep Pandhal and Amba Sayal-Bennett each present new work which explores the legacy of the built environment through tropes of architecture, modernity and politics of belonging. In his quintessential wry manner, Pandhal reflects on the legacy of the historic 1984 Operation Blue Star incident in North India. Through a fictional video game advert, the artist considers how memories of traumatic incidents and ethnic violence are erased or turned into products of entertainment for mass consumption. Amba Sayal-Bennett presents Revising the Calendar, a new series of work including drawings and sculptural pieces inspired by Jantar Mantar (a famous site of astrological architecture in New Delhi). Her work reflects on the agency of observation, considering what it means to have a physical site as a reminder of our celestial and other worldly explorations.
Taking us beyond the three dimensions of earthly existence, Harminder Judge’s sculptural works evoke a kind of cosmic understanding within their mesmerising tones and deep swirling hues. Named for a seminal experience in the artist’s life as a young man visiting his ancestral family land, Judge’s work is suggestive of how a new generation of diasporic artists might still be grappling with questions of displacement and a longing for ‘home’.
At the centre point of the project is this idea of a ‘journey’. Whether this is the imagined journey taken by the researcher in the depths of the archive, the dream of the impossible journey to distant homelands, or the hopeful ambition of the exploratory voyager seeking new horizons. Through metaphors of charts, maps, plots, plans, blueprints and journals, the five artists on view explore the possibility of what it means to occupy this unknown and yet undefined alternative present.
a plot for the multiverse is curated by Sitara Chowfla for indigo+madder