A wound is a place where light enters you
Through a selection of paintings and sculptures, the artists Mithu Sen and Chittrovanu Mazumdar consider light in its physical and metaphorical capacities. Light is natural and commodifiable, particle and wave. It is both nourishing and cruel, and followed closely by its other, darkness.
In Chittrovanu Mazumdar’s work, mechanical forms are invested with desire. This series of frames contains fragments of text, sheets of metal and tungsten bulbs. Each one presents its contents and tells a unique story. Mazumdar uses light as a medium, a tool to expose and conceal. The line between industrial and organic materials is blurred – between private and public, between sacred and profane. A transgression takes place, drawing together difference. Porcelain flower petals seem to sprout under artificial light and metallic surfaces are peeled back like skin to reveal their insides. The materials are elemental, like metal from the earth, but in the glow of light they turn to liquid. The works resist mastery; they seem almost unfinished. This urgency circulates: a thought interrupted, a trace of memory. Found objects are transformed into more than commodities. They are collected with purpose, imbedded with impressions, and deified in their altars.
Mithu Sen’s watercolors combine surreal imagery and humour noir. Placed upon a light box, these paintings are illuminated from behind, revealing the way the pigment has strayed, exposing its lines of flight. In this way, Sen opens up the anatomy of her work. The subjects of these pieces vary, sometimes including birds, humans, or imagined creatures. Landscapes are made of a selection of roots and branches, partial trees that spread like veins beneath the skin. Through these paintings, Sen examines notions of privacy and surveillance the body encounters in contemporary life. Nothing is secret. Nothing is sacred. Dissection, x-rays and other physical intrusions represent only one side of this idea. The other is a less tangible infringement, but one that is perhaps more dangerous – namely, the violation of interiority and the psychic space.
- Avni Doshi is an art historian and writer living in Dubai.