Of all forms of art, abstracts are probably the toughest to decipher. Interpretations can be as diverse and unique as its viewers. In a bid to shed light on the inspiration(s) that form the core of abstract art, cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote and artist Mehlli Gobhai have curated an exhibition titled Nothing is Absolute: A Journey through Abstraction being held at the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery. Kamini Sawhney, curator of Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, says, “The show is an unorthodox account of the diverse strands that make up the history of abstractionism in art. It evolved out of a continual dialogue between Gobhai and Hoskote, and a collaboration through which they bring together the experiences of the studio, the gallery, the museum, the library and the archive that they both have had across three continents.”
At the core of the exhibition are 28 paintings from the Jehangir Nicholson Collection, comprising works by some eminent abstract artists including V.S. Gaitonde, S.H. Raza, Ram Kumar, Akbar Padamsee, Laxman Shreshtha, Prabhakar Kolte. The works have been grouped as landscapes, everyday objects, and geometry and symbols like yantra and mandala in abstraction.
To make the experience multi-linear, the curators have also included everyday objects from the Mehlli Gobhai collection, 17th-century Islamic tiles from the CSMVS collection, Vidya Kamat’s photographic research documentation of wayside shrines in Mumbai, and yantras drawn from private collections. These essentially portray the sources of inspiration for abstraction from time immemorial.
Bottomline: Abstract art deconstructed.
Nothing is Absolute: A Journey through Abstraction
Where: Jehangir Nicholson Gallery, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay, Colaba, Mumbai
When: February 25 to May 30.