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'Katharsis in Forbidden Zones' by Dimple Shah at Kalakriti Art Gallery

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Alliance Frangaise of Hyderabad and Kalakriti Art Gallery, in association with AGS Four Winds and Pitars invites you to the opening of 'Katharsis in Forbidden Zones', a solo show by Dimple B Shah.

Purification and healing process in various mediums is the base in Dimple B Shah's solo show 'Katharsis in Forbidden Zones'. The idea is to bring the effect of these elements and by studying them in various aspects like psychological, sociological, ecological and philosophical ways to understand society and self. Her performances deal with social issues in a theatrical expression, along with a video installation.

The works in this exhibition represent, epitomise and evoke various alchemical substances to suggest a precise examination of their properties, the laboratory paraphernalia alluding to different stages of purification and transformation, while a host of more or less ordinary objects link the findings of the quasi-science and modern scholarship with the character of our reality, human imperfections or impurities as well as hope and ideals. The large canvases deal with the basic classical metals of alchemy in a manner that binds them with and lets them disclose rudimentary qualities of the human disposition. The artist begins from a position of neutral objectivity and in the centre of the paintings places a researcher's table whose frontal position in vanishing point perspective seems to display it clearly to the viewer. The table covered by white cloth introduces the sense of an old-fashioned study but with a tinge of domestic interior. The vessels for chemical experiments and a profusion of other objects demonstrate their nature and connections at various planes. With the help of the titles one can grasp some of the content, whereas, indeed, like in the obscure science of alchemy, the specific, often complex relationships between motifs necessitate detailed elucidation. On longer scrutiny, the objects arranged so as to indicate their condition begin to stir responding to one another. As one recalls the words denoting energy, flow and spirit that recur in Dimple's drawings, the items on the table top which usually include devices that heat substances contained in glass retorts appear to enact self¬presentation and transformation, like performers explaining themselves to the attentive audience. The sense of a nearly theatrical scene is enhanced by the large format of the paintings that invite an immediate, static focus from the spectator. The precise, sparing realism of the rendering here aims at lucid objectivity, and yet an imperceptive mood of enigmatic, fragile transmutation emerges with the glossy translucence of the glass tubes, beaked containers, smooth bowls and globes, etc. The atmosphere gams an eerie note spreading into the saturated, murky backgrounds that conjure an endless landscape engulfing the sky merged with the ground over an expanse of flatness and indistinct depth, its darkness not relieved by the tonalities of ominous, muted radiance conjuring a somewhat surrealistic impact. The intuition of the real and the subconscious blends then, as a home interior contrasts as well as blends with the external space indicative of its cosmic dimensions, the artist considering her theme at the same time on the micro and macro scale, at the personal and social or all-encompassing levels.

Extract from Ms. Marta Jakimowicz's essay for Dimple B Shah's solo show 'Katharsis in a forbidden zones' at Gallery Sumukha in 2010.

About the Artist
Dimple B Shah obtained her Diploma in Painting from KEN School of Arts, Bangalore in 1998, and Post Diploma in Printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts MS University of Baroda in 2001. In the year 2006 Dimple went to Glasgow Print studio to get further training in Printmaking, Glasgow, UK. Dimple was awarded the First Gold Prix in 7th Engraving Biennale, Versailles, France in 2009, and National award from Lalit Kala Academy. Chandigarh. She was also awarded the Commonwealth Arts & Crafts Award, UK in 2005, and Junior Research Fellowship by Department of Culture, Government of India during 2000-2002.

Dimple, in the very beginning of her art practice, went on to experiment on variety of media. Her works comprises of Painting, Printmaking, Sculptures, Installations, Video and Performance Art. Her recent performance include 'RIP (Rest in Peace)', Sethu Sundaram Project, Bangalore; 'Dual Paradox', Rasa Art Gallery, Bangalore; 'Milk, Melancholy and Me', Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bangalore, and, 'One in Hundred years', NGMA, Mumbai.

Dimple's solo works has been showcased at Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore; Gallery III, Glasgow Print Studio, Glasgow, Scotland; Central Park, Bangalore, and Gallery Akkruti, Bangalore. Apart from these her works were featured in several group exhibitions, includes, 'Cross Border Constellations', Theertha, IAC, Srilanka; 1st United Art Fair, New Delhi; National Awardees show, Central Lalit Kala Academy, Bhubaneswar; 7th Engraving Biennale, Versailles, France; 'Present and Future, NGMA, Mumbai, to name a few.

The Black Nigredo, Milk and Me - The core idea of this performance Is to bring in the psychological state of mind of a person, who is in deep state of depression and in melancholic mood, who is in state of isolation and has lost all its positive power to fight back (symbdlid to first stage of Alchemical process - Nigredo, this is very well explained by Carl Jung and interpreted Nigredo as the moment of maximum despair, that is a prerequisite to personal development. Nigredo is "The dark night of the soul". He says "Right at the beginning you meet the dragon, the Cathonic spirit, the devil or, as the alchemists called it The Blackness, the Nigredo and this encounter produce suffering" It brings the ego into contact with what it fears).

The Black Nigredo, Milk, & Me, is based on my experience in Mumbai during 2003. The performance was supported by video which was shot in Mumbai at Marine Drive, Chowpati Beach. The video in the performance is about conversation with sea and me over the period of Six months. The conversation with the sea starts with overwhelming feeling of its greatness and vastness, later on, the feeling narrows down to a point of nothingness of self in front of it. The video narrates ones journey in metro city where he/she is isolated in their own world with no trust and faith on anybody and fear of losing self identity and dreams. It talks about struggle of individual who come with big dreams and tries to fit into this big city, searching for his/her own space and owning it. It also talks of emotive aspect like coping up with loneliness and depression which is the byproduct of mega cities. In this video I have shot very few elements like sea, waves, buildings and reflection of lights on waves.

The dancing night lights and play of it on the sea brings the melancholic flavor to the video. The constant sound of waves that symbolizes the heartbeat and existence of life, the play of light in the video represents dreams that afloat. In this whole video I have continuously showed only few elements to bring in the essence of time that I have spent.

The performance has both existential feeling and melancholic tone. This performance act is a healing process for me and to my audience. In audio there are two people talking one is doctor who hypnotizes his patient and the other voice is mine, who is the patient and takes the journey to the past. (This conversational format was sourced from psychotherapy session and psychoanalysis and expressed here as metaphor. A doctor usually lets the patient speak and listens without judgment, later offering gentle insights and suggestions. Sporadically there occur precious & magical 'Frozen Moments', named so by the Jungian therapist Beverly Zabirskie, when boundaries between the patient and the doctor dissolve and in their shared warmth immobilized random traumas of childhood melt away to enable mutual healing). I concluded my performance by the act of pouring milk on my face and this ritualistic act symbolized healing.
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