NEW YORK, NY.- Heller Gallery
presents Of Clocks and Clouds, the first New York solo exhibition of work by Indian born artist Anjali Srinivasan.
Srinivasan seeks to erode the notion of a self-contained object. She creates complex reflective arrangements that while constructed like clocks, propagate like clouds. In Of Clocks and Clouds the optical realities of a single, basic form in reflective glass, in this case a tetrahedron, are subjected to the phenomenology of the Sheesh Mahal, old and new.
The artist describes the 17th century Indian Sheesh Mahals (palaces of mirrors) as simple and profound: convex mirrored shards encrust chamber walls and ceiling in mesmerizing intricate patterns. Each motif can be seen as a clock; a neat and orderly system that can be pried apart and solved, like a puzzle, into its smallest components. Each shard's positive contour fits into its neighbor's negative contour, leaving in-between a thin arabesque line of white plaster. Each mirrored shard is a cell - a small reflective convex lens - that converts the inhabitant's self-image to a particle that looks like little more than dust. Yet, when a small lamp is held in the palm of ones hand, the specular reflection held in each cell is multiplied many times into a hypnotic cloud of stars that cascades across the large chamber and illuminates it.
Over centuries the Sheesh Mahals have been eroded by history and subject to physical destruction. Srinivasan writes: My experiments have focused on ways to make the obsolete tradition relevant to the here and now. In 2010, I walked into a vessel store in Chennai and I felt my disappointment of the demise of the Sheesh Mahal vanish. Every square inch of the store gridded ceiling included - was used to suspend a shiny, curved object of stainless steel. Not in the intricate, painstaking patterns of the extinct monuments but as a massive, nebulous cloud of product and reflection whose density and form was based entirely on item stock, market demand, product design, and container size. I had encountered a palace of mirrors where each unit - a vessel - could be relocated, replaced and functional
. For me, the vessel store assumed a new-age identity of the Sheesh Mahal.
Srinivasan studied Accessories Design at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi and holds a BFA (2002) from Alfred University, NY and an MFA (2007) from the Rhode Island School of Design, RI, where she focused on glass & digital media. Her work as an artist, curator and writer has been featured in the Skoda Prize for Indian Contemporary Art 2011 (exhibition and catalogue), Art Dubai (2012) & Art India (2012), Superpositions exhibition & catalogue (2011). In 2010 she organized the touring exhibition How is this glass? (2010-11) and co-authored the accompanying catalogue. Srinivasan is currently based in Chennai, India.