The Artist's World: Aishwaryan K.

9 October - 5 December 2015

Curated by Vaishnavi Ramanathan


Mumbai Art Room is pleased to announce the exhibition The Artist’s World, by Bengaluru-based artist Aishwaryan K. and Chennai-based curator Vaishnavi Ramanathan. The project was selected among a number of very strong applications received in response to the Call for a Collaboration held by Mumbai Art Room and generously supported by Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation.        

The show opens with a public reception on Thursday, 8 October 2015 at 6pm. Please join us for a discussion with the artist and the curator at 7pm.


About the exhibition


The Artist’s World is a solo show built on the memory of a group exhibition. The past exhibition, titled The Artists’ Word, was curated by the late art historian Dr. Veena Shekar and took place in Bengaluru in 2009 when Aishwaryan was still a student. It explored the relationship between word and image on different levels and featured the works of thirty artists. While Shekar’s exhibition may not have been a landmark in art history, it was a milestone in Aishwaryan’s development as an artist. It played an important role in shaping his understanding of the world, a world inhabited by other artists, curators and designers, as well as by ideas and art works. 


Drawing on the experience of a group show that has morphed over time in the mind of the artist, the exhibition considers curatorial practice as a kind of ‘durational endeavour’ that has the capacity to continuously unfold, and unfold variously, in both physical and mental spaces. The Artist’s World begins by reconstructing the 2009 show, adding and removing figures from the narrative. Memory is explored and produced on at least two levels here: the memory of a curator who was also the artist’s teacher, and the memory of an exhibition that the artist wanted to participate in. As much an archivist as an artist, Aishwaryan is constantly collecting and cataloguing images and anecdotes of artists and artworks, and the works in the upcoming exhibition are an extension of a practice that self-consciously refers to the works of other artists.


By 2009, a number of alternate art spaces had been established in the city of Bengaluru, and the title of Shekar’s show, The Artists’ Word, seemed to hint at a shift that was taking place in both discourse and practice. The word, which had thus far possessed a certain external authority in understanding the image within the tradition of ‘art criticism’, was now entering the work itself, either as a kind of silence or as a kind of frame. The difference in these approaches towards the word is often equated to the gap between ‘conventional’ and ‘conceptual’ art, and paying attention to what happens in the interstices enables an understanding of a great plurality of languages and mediums that were straddled, appropriated and assimilated. In revisiting this moment, we come together to contextualise a local art history, and in so doing propose a set of relations to a range of art historical categories.


Every word is a palimpsest which bears within it memories of its usage over a period of time. Art works too, speaking to us differently at different moments, have polyphonic voices. The multiple personas that an image and a word might have form the starting point of our collaboration. The project seeks to understand the process of an artist’s world making, the role of other artists and curators in this process and how an archive changes not just physically but also emotionally over the years.


– Vaishnavi Ramanathan



About the artist


Trained in painting and printmaking, Aishwaryan K. (b.1986, Palakkad) received his degree from Bangalore University and KEN School of Art, Bengaluru. His work has been featured in numerous shows, notably at theertha, International Artists Collective, Sri Lanka, 1Shantiroad, BAR1 studios and Gallery Sumukha, Bengaluru and Nature Morte, Gurgaon.


About the curator


Vaishnavi Ramanathan (b. 1984, Chennai) is a writer and a curator living and working in Chennai. She completed her masters in art history from Chitrakala Parishat, Bangalore, and studied curation at the University of Essex, U.K. She contributes articles to magazines such as Art & DealTake on Art and Marg and teaches art history at the Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai.


The exhibition is funded by Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation.