Tracing the Skin of Day, Chittrovanu Mazumdar

In this exhibition, the artist brings together a body of work that investigates the erosion, decay and ultimate reconstitution of our lived environments. This cycle shifts through multiple registers, existing in the physical space as well as the realm of memory. By seamlessly intertwining these two lines of experience, Mazumdar’s work gives weight to the psychic conditions we inhabit.

In much of Mazumdar’s work, space is given shape with the use of light – light that illuminates walls as well as holes. Set into the darkness, the light pulls the gaze, momentarily blinding the viewer from the surrounding area. It holds the viewer’s attention, slowly revealing the form of the object. The singular effect of light is one that the artist experiences in Jharkhand. India’s poorest state, it is a place where light is scarce and precious. Mazumdar explores this deification of light in his works – one reading might suggest that his interest lies in building altars for this electric god which, in affluent cities, is taken for granted, incorporating forgotten scraps of metal and wire that might ordinarily be considered refuse.

 The trace of a temple, its architecture, shadows and slow decay appear in glimmers in photographs and video. The temple is an inheritance, built by Mazumdar’s father – a place that Mazumdar returns to in Jharkhand. Made up of the barest bones, the structure is open to the elements, where the wildness of the landscape presses up against manmade architectural forms. Mazumdar continues to investigate the aesthetics of overgrowth in paper works and small sculptural objects. A wooden plough and sheets of white paper are covered in delicate ceramic petals. In this exploration, Mazumdar’s concerns are not ecological but rather a portrayal of the ways in which organic matter disturbs, disrupts and breaks open form. 

- Text by Avni Doshi