In Response To…
February 21 through April 5, 2003
Talwar Gallery is delighted to announce an exhibition of major sculptural works by Navjot. The exhibition will open to the public on Friday, February 21, and will be on view through April 5. This is the artist¹s first solo exhibition in the United States. There will be an Opening reception with the Artist on Friday, February 21, 6-8 pm.
The sculptural ensemble on exhibit presents monumental but enigmatic human figures bathed in bright indigo. The almost theatrical setting alludes to a performance in progress in which the female figures exude confidence, dynamism and authority in contrast to their leisurely passive male subjects. Carved from solid blocks of teak wood, their iconic presence and resolute gaze is instrumental in subverting the narrative of patriarchal dominance and transcending the modes of art practices. While drawing on India¹s rich heritage of sculptural traditions, Navjot rejects the idealized female body persistent with the male view and imbues the unfeminine and brawny bodies of her women with stability, tenacity and power.
As eminent art historian and critic Geeta Kapur elicits
Navjot has clearly retracked the familiar terrain of social injustice and violence, transmuting her concerns to the intimate, often hidden private lives of women. These works are clearly about the language of eroticism, of the male gaze that still relegates women to sexual object, of hollow, unfulfilled lives and of female sexuality as the site of as much pain as pleasure….Narrative controversy blends with regional themes and a naturalistic aesthetic in rough-hewn, agile bodies that are awkwardly and attenuatedly voluptuous. The figures carved in huge chunks of wood return to and emerge from nature even as they entrust us with imaginative reassessment of German Expressionist sculpture and African and Oceanic Art. Original departures and lively open structural forms have been created as if in appreciation of the power and empathy of tribal art forms. This in turn lends itself well to the pictorial convention of communicating the complex thinking and emotion inherent in the feminine predicament the subject of carvings. And to testing the limits of making pathos manifest. In this balance struck between the work as empathic representation and as autonomous formal creation, lies the essence of its expression.
Navjot was born in the North Indian city of Meerut in 1949. She completed her Art education from JJ School of Art in Bombay in 1972. Since participating in her first International exhibition in 1976 at Zeitgenossische Indische Kunst in Germany, Navjot¹s works have been exhibited extensively both at home in India and abroad. Navjot¹s works were exhibited in Century City at Tate Modern, London in 2001; earlier in 1999 she participated in First Fukuoka Triennale in Fukuoka, Japan; in 1996 her works were included in Inside Out, an exhibition curated by Geeta Kapur at Middlesborough art gallery in UK and in 1997 in A Celebration of Independence at Mills College art gallery in Oakland, California. Earlier this year her works were included in the exhibition Ways of Resisting at Rabindra Bhavan in New Delhi, India organized by SAHMAT. Navjot¹s interest in modes of art practices and social concerns has allowed her to pursue many collaborative and cooperative art projects over the years. In 1994 in the aftermath of the Bombay communal riots she worked in Mumbai with two documentary filmmakers and a classical vocalist for Links destroyed and rediscovered; in 1998 a sculptural and video installation with artists from Bastar, Modes of Parallel Practice: Ways of World making was exhibited at Fukuoka Asian art Museum in Fukuoka, Japan. Navjot¹s works are in various public and private collections in Japan, India and Europe.
Navjot lives and works in Bastar (Central India) and Mumbai, India.
For further information please call the gallery at 212 673 3096