Home / Art / Himmat Shah
 

Himmat Shah

Facebook Linkedin twitter Pinterest Google Plus E-mail this link to a friend.

Tracing and underlining Himmat Shah’s contribution to the discourse of modern Indian art, the exhibition presents around 300 works with 215 from the KNMA collection and loans from various public and private institutions and collections. Along with his famous terracotta sculptures, bronzes, and drawings, it brings to light his lesser-known mediums and extraordinary body of works—high-relief murals, burnt paper collages and silver paintings—hardly seen by the Indian art fraternity and public at large.

‘Looking at a seed can you imagine the entire tree? One who can imagine the tree looking at its seed and the seed looking at the tree is a reflection of a true artistic vision’. Himmat Shah 
A hammer (sans the hand) elegantly fixed onto a cube (sans mass). The gravitational connect between the distinct geometries of the two forms catapults one into an arbitration of potentialities created by the artist. Cones, spheres, mounds of various kinds and sizes, anthills, beehives, eye of the mountain, temples and flags, cylinders, birds, real and imaginary animal forms, hollow of the moulds, fossil-like fragments, and so on: the ‘intimate immensity’ of Himmat Shah’s sensual world of forms and mysteries, his marveling at the beauty of the changing form constitutes the exhibition ‘Hammer on the Square’. The experience of walking through the exhibition ‘Hammer on the Square’ is designed like digging through the ephemeral layers of a deposition made over a period of time. From the walls to the floor, the exhibited works unfurl a landscape, cartography, and an individual language of abstraction developed by Himmat Shah in the last six decades, exposing the limitless beauty found in the everyday. Himmat's work combines the abstraction with the local vernacular anecdotes, observations and materials, most times transforming everyday objects into meditative icons with variety of actions performed on and with them. Many of Himmat's early drawings, sculptures and reliefs incorporate a dense clustering of simple geometric forms and mythic and archaic symbols within their surfaces. Himmat’s art presents a coming together of cultures, artistic traditions and contemporary life. Rather than presenting a chronological sequence, the exhibition display takes a nonhierarchical approach to all the works from different stages of Himmat Shah's career, following the continuities and creative flows dictated by his enquiries.

Many chance encounters have informed his artistic sensibility, each instance presenting him with a new material. For example, in early 1960s while sitting in a friend’s office, Himmat playfully burnt a few holes into a paper borrowed from the typist, which led him to work with the fragile and sensuous burnt paper collage forms. The brilliant formal compositions and playful abstraction of the collages are among his early modernist experiments to arrive at pure form. After returning from Paris, Himmat Shah started working on three ambitious brick, cement and concrete high-relief murals on site for the St. Xavier’s Primary School in Ahmedabad in 1968-69, upon an invitation of his architect friend Hasmukh Patel. Created with the intention of igniting the imagination of children, they are a brilliant play of forms, shadows and tactility, formed by most rudimentary geometric shapes and patterns. Till date these high-reliefs are the most ambitious murals relating to architecture in the urban Indian context. His study in Paris in environment and urban design found a strong outlet through these facades designed on a modernist building. He interviewed several masons and carpenters working in Ahmedabad and created a team of the master-workers who assisted him in executing the three murals. Lack of proper machinery and equipment in India led him to develop and improvised new methods for creating the moulds. The exhibition includes four surviving moulds of four sections of one of the three murals, loaned from the acclaimed collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. It is a rare feat to experience his brilliant geometric constructions, simple patterns accentuating qualities of depth and surface.

MORE IN Art

In God We Trust

Munem Wasif

The Artist  I was born in Bangladesh in 1983 and I studied at the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Dhaka,

read more...
I Have to Feed Myself, My Family and My Country

I Have to Feed Myself, My Family and My Country

Hit Man Gurung, Artist There’s a story to those yellow helmets that bob up through the street, building our homes even

read more...
Sudarshan Shetty | Photography: Ishika Mohan Motwane

Sudarshan Shetty

Shetty’s Shunya Ghar, a mammoth installation made with found wood, coupled with an hour-long film based on the eponymously titled

read more...
 
Gauri Gill | Photography: Joseph Rahul

Gauri Gill

Despite having spent her years of her career using photography to document the lives of her Indian American family and

read more...
Fake Holidays

Reiner Riedler

Photographer, Fake Holidays Making memories on the road, breaking routines, carving new experiences makes you happy. Whether you’re travelling for work or

read more...
Bharat Sikka | Photography: Karan Vaid

Bharat Sikka

Artist with a Camera People, Communities, Landscape might be part of his repertoire but at the heart of it, the entire

read more...
Profile of the Week: Ishrat Sahgal

Design

Ishrat Sahgal

Mishcat Co, Design House Following a degree in interior architecture, when Ishrat Sahgal returned to Indian shores from The States, it

read more...

Fashion

BENNCH

A white oxford shirt reinterpreted with a diaphanous accordion detail; a monochrome jumpsuit with a cape for an accent; an

read more...
A still from Kaash

Film

Kaash

Ishaan Nair, Director The Filmmaker The new director in Mira Nair’s family, Ishaan has been working after his degree in direction and

read more...
 
A graphic story written and illustrated by Aindri Chakraborty

Literature

All That We Want - The Gaysi Zine

The fifth edition of The Gaysi Zine embarks on a journey to explore the unchartered realm of queer desires, and

read more...
Interview of the Week: Jesse Veverka

Lifestyle

Jesse Veverka

Passfire All around the world, fireworks are synonymous with celebration. People from different parts of the world may speak different languages

read more...
Rush by Mali

Music

Rush by Mali

When Maalavika Manoj aka Mali started strumming her own tunes she found inspiration in long-lost friendships, memories of home and

read more...