SILENTLY…a proposed plan for rethinking the urban fabric
by Pooja Iranna
Curatorial Advisor Priya Pall
Centre for Contemporary Art, Bikaner House, India Gate, New Delhi
We are delighted to present Silently…, Aicon Art’s debut solo exhibition of New Delhi-based artist Pooja Iranna. The exhibition will also mark the gallery's debut presentation at Bikaner House in New Delhi.
Spanning the breath of her practice, Silently...a proposed plan for rethinking the urban fabric is an endeavor by Iranna to capture the sensations of a city as experienced by individuals and not as designed by architects and planners. The artist’s new body of work is extremely sensitive, as it attempts to bring forth what this explosion of urbanization, and its standardization that we see today in the name of modernization and development, would mean for an individual in real terms. Through drawings on acrylic sheets; lens-based works including video and photography and sculptural works using glass, concrete and staple pins, the work in this exhibition attempts to trace the effects of architecture on the emotions and the psyche and attempts to find traces of our emotional and psychological lives in the structures and patternings of architecture. She asks an unignorable question – is the ever-growing colloidal form of the city bringing us closer to the utopian vision it is rooted in?
The staple is a material crucial to the artist’s practice and harks back to early experimentations in three-dimensional form. Resembling building models, they cleverly replicate many of the ideas in the lens-based works and paintings but also the formal aspects of composition, color and form. As architect and writer Gautam Bhatia observes,
“For her, the staple is a useful construction element, because it is featureless and repetitive – both ideas that reflect the anonymous character of the city. A cluster of staples representing a digital high-rise captures the scale of relentless accretion – the theme of overbuilding, indeed the unstoppable occupation of space in the city, in which nothing is eventually left but a bit of sky.”
Augmenting the sculptural works in the exhibition is Iranna’s enagement with the digital manipulation of images stemming from classical and contemporary architecture. The artist takes pleasure in allowing this evidence of distortion by technology to remain visible in her work, to both refine and adapt the original details and to comment on man’s increasing dependence on technology for his own self-image. Bhatia summarizes, ‘By extracting a minor frame from the larger built landscape, the painted vision disturbs by deliberate fragmentation. How big is the real building from which this miniscule frame was withdrawn? Is the steel structure part of a bridge or skyscraper? The answer is never clear.’