Fun is a word rarely associated with Indian contemporary art these days. In fact, in a genre saturated with weighty, dense ruminations on everything from female violence to brash commercialization, fun is a death knell of sorts, signalling the flighty creations of the less-than-talented.
In which case, it would be easy enough to dismiss the works of Aditya Pande, a graphic designer-turned-artist whose entire body of work is defined by its lightness. And though not revolutionary or revelatory, Pande’s works are refreshingly, well, fun. Made on a computer programme that stretches and morphs lines and patterns, the works are massive graphics of sorts, the kind of free-wheeling, pattern-mad scribbles that result from an idle hour or two spent on Windows’ Paint (remember that?)
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Of course, Pande’s programme is considerably more sophisticated, a vector-based software through which Pande can create and manipulate bundles of needle-thin lines. Most end up in vaguely recognizable form, a goat’s head, Pande’s face, googly-eyed souls of indiscernible origin. Often Pande will draw over his creations, which he will sometimes attempt 20 odd times before arriving at a pleasingly random configuration. “I like the idea of blurring the real with the fictional, and creating a tension between them” he says. He revels in the nonsensical, which is why a photo of a raggedy sand filled rubber chappal is given a face, and handle-bar moustache, and why a self-portrait is garlanded with pop-toned patterns of ovals. Closer inspection often reveal faint triangular grids that serve as anchors, a backdrop of recognizable symmetry in a mish-mash of doodled-chaos.
Pande made the switch to full-time artist just five years ago, and his works occasionally hint at an artist very much trying to find his feet (this is his first solo show). In fact, visitors to the exhibit will be surprised to note that in place of his works, which went up on the first day of the show, are free-hand wall scribbles that Pande will continue to work on during the next few days. The idea he says is a “kind of completion that’s incomplete”.
A to Zoo will be on view at Chatterjee & Lal, Colaba, Mumbai until 28 November.