Writeups

  • Shadows of the Real

    Entwined in the very roots of being are the impalpable sources of sensations. The body, is a tangible instrument that experiences and breaks the opaqueness of the world. The self too has a body, its exterior dimension, its surface, a biological anchor, and then a mind, its interior dimension, the invisible infinite space, its abstract force, treasurer of indelible impressions, innumerable associations and memories. The mind and body or the inside – outside dialogue is an ongoing one, always undergoing transformation.

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  • The Enigma of Departure

    G.R. Iranna’s recent paintings are sites of struggle. Even a cursory glance at them fills the eye with a sense of tremendous dynamism, of volatility and ferment. A closer look reveals a series of conflicts being played out on the picture surface: between a colour and its neighbor; between figure and pigment; between the organic and the technological.

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  • The Birth of Blindness and The Dead Smile

    the dead smile

    Two major, large-scale figurative installations by Indian artist GR Iranna, alongside new sculptures and paintings, will be unveiled at Aicon Gallery London this March. The Dead Smile will fill the ground floor of the gallery, fully visible to passersby. This group of life-size, nude, male figures arranged in a circular formation all squat in the same position: their arms rest on their knees and their hands fall to the floor. Their heads and faces are concealed, wrapped tightly within black cloth that completely muffles and hinders any form of communication. The figures are closed to (and unaware of) the outside world.

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  • Huddled Masses: Iranna's Protest Art

    the huddled masses

    In what is clearly a tour de force of protest art, a masterpiece of social commentary, Iranna shows us the human truth of our times, shows us how far man has fallen: abject and anonymous, stripped naked and emasculated, his figures squat submissively, like dogs waiting to spring up and do their master's bidding. They are lined up in rows, and-the crowning touch, brilliantly simple-their heads are shrouded in plastic, effectively muffling,even suffocating them: they dare not speak out, dare not protest their servitude, dare not stand head held high and proud.

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  • Blind and Blinding Bodies

    blinding bodies

    Blindness is a pathological condition where the human being’s ocular engagement with his surroundings gets disrupted. This disruption causes logical discontinuities while pushing the human being into a state of ambiguity. Ocular deprivation is one of the tactics that the State uses for taming a rebelling individual and converting him into a conforming citizen. Ideological indoctrination through the systems, which Louis Althusser qualifies as Repressive State Apparatuses, prepares the individual to turn ‘blind’ to certain situations so that he could follow the ideology without causing crisis to himself and to the State.

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  • Between Perplexity and Dream

    between perplexity and dream

    The naked and tonsured figure that serves G R Iranna as his key image is compacted from many ancestries. It fuses the yogi, the bhikshu, and the tirthankara, exemplars of transcendence drawn from Indic culture’s three major sacred traditions; in more secular key, it also encodes references to Gauguin and Bacon, the exponents of the Jorasanko circle, and the android martyr-saviours of science fiction. Such intertextuality is integral to Iranna’s logic of figuration, which engages vigorously with the human body cast in situations at once archetypal and political, suggestive of a deep archive of ceremonial physiology but also memorialising the present.

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  • Linking Art to History

    the dead smile

    Iranna G.R. interrogates the culture of violence in a recent exhibition, Birth of Blindness. They carry with them resonances of Abu Ghraib — these crouching, naked white figures, their heads covered with black hoods. Subservient and stripped of all dignity, they are the new protagonists of Iranna G.R.’s solo show “Birth of Blindness”, which travels to the Aicon Gallery in London and New York after a brief preview in New Delhi.The exhibition appears to break new ground in the artist’s oeuvre not only in terms of treatment of material but also in terms of the commentary it makes.

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  • Silence and Aggression

    silence

    Displacement is never voluntary. It happens at the confluence of forces that are too big to be completely seen, too widespread to be ever described. They don’t seize from individuals their everyday rights directly but dislocate, instead, their personhoods to unfamiliar terrain, paralysing their ability to react. In this way, displacement feeds on existing beliefs and bodies, cannibalising them for the expansion of the conqueror.

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