Group show features ‘impossibility of representation’

Tanzil Rahaman | Published: 00:00, Jun 25,2019


Installations on display at the show.

A group art show conceived after a three-day, onsite activities in Bormi, Gazipur, showcases the impossibility of translating lived experience into the diction of art. In fact the group exhibition that is going on at Quamrul Hassan Exhibition Hall of the newly-built Bengal Shilpalay in Dhanmondi in the capital, attempts to remember, re-create and even supersede the works developed amidst nature.

The show features 13 installations and photographs of performance art by the same number of artistes.

Titled ‘Unseen’, a reference to the totality of experience which defies any code of language, the show is sponsored by Bengal Foundation and organised by 180 Degrees. Curated by Mustafa Zaman and Sharmillie Rahman, Unseen commenced on June 22 and will run for the next one and half months.

According to the curators the exhibition attempts to transform the experience of the artists in a specific place into objects, images and performances. Some of the activities were photographed and made into videos while few of the artists even brought into the exhibition space some obvious references to the space, which was Bormi, such as twigs and earth.

The show, premised as it is on a broader framework, seeks to address the relationship of humans and nature with time and inadequacy of language as its major focus.

Artist Razib Dutta’s photograph shows a playful exploration of absence and presence of objects, including twigs and sickle, lying bare how human activities are dependent on what the earth has in offer.

Yasmin Jahan Nupur’s installation amasses photographs of her performance which she did at Bormi. It shows how her body, including her hair, is entangled with and energised by an onsite tree.

Artist Abir Shome’s video installation is a playful take on Wittgenstein’s idea of inadequacy of language as a vehicle of communication since real things are things-in-themselves and cannot be grasped through any other form of representation.

Marzia Farhan’s installation prompts us to rethink our ‘material’ condition in relation to our capital-driven civilization in which nature has been the ultimate victim of development. The idea of destruction takes on a spectral look in her work where tin sheets collected from construction sites in Dhaka are used to build a monumental sculpture. There are obvious references to the pathologies of our time in the texts she used as part of her work — they are written on thin metal plates that stick out of main monolithic structure.  

Id nature produces a sense of transcendence in humans, it was in the works of Hadi Uddin that we stand witness to its minimalist showcasing. His photographs takes us back Bormi, the village, by way of representing the electric wires, which provided the artist an opportunity to produce a composition that cleanses the eye rather than reminding one of modern living.

Artists like Mizanur Rahman, Sanjid Mahmud and Abdus Salam worked with the elements they brought back from Bormi, while Emran Sohel intentionally manipulated the photograph he took of his site-specific installation and added another layer to it by incorporating found objects.

The show will end on August 3.

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