Farhad Hussain

Pre Wedding Fun 72 x 48 inches Acrylic on canvas, 2021


Walter Benjamin in the Arcades Project explains the urban experience and commodity culture as a sequence of phantasmagorias which are described as dream-like representational images mixing fiction and reality. Contemporary culture with all its illusive imagery is a testimony to this concept. Thus, the exhibition Phantasmagoria brings together artists who problematize the concept of realism as well as reality, especially in an age which is a frenzy of simulations. Taking from pop culture while blurring the boundaries between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art, these artists form bricolages of mental landscapes. ‘Parody’ and ‘Pastiche’ are blended together to form a post postmodern critique of consumerism aesthetics. The painterly surface becomes the door to the phantasmatic terrains to tap onto the hidden realities.

Dileep Sharma juxtaposes motifs which are reflective of contemporary media and popular culture to embed his images with a stark sense of satirical humor, seduction and fantasy. His models reflect fashion and flamboyance to subvert their very essence through contrasting imagery. Farhad Husain explores the politics and dynamics of human relationships affected by the capitalist society which survives through alienation and sheer consumption. He creates an eclectic rhetoric of images coming from diverse schools of paintings, prints and images from the entertainment world creating a montage of old and new. George Martin creates ideas or abstract thought into an almost tangible physical thing by providing them a conceptual aesthetic. The flow of thought alludes to the fluidity of music and sound and a pastiche of sorts is manifested by bringing in images from distinct sources revealing the fragmentary nature of contemporary times. Pratul Dash employs the painted surface to distort the perception of the viewer and thereby question their view of representation. This approach towards surrealism unravels the constructed nature of realities and fantasies.

If the modern individual was disenchanted with modernity, the contemporary ‘flaneur’ is hyper-aware of the spell cast by the late capitalist culture and the digital city. Through these dreamscapes then, it is possible to dissect any rigid notions of identity. The strangeness of subjects in these works can become a source of provocation for the viewer, revealing paradoxes and dichotomies. The very act of assembling together images and motifs from a vast repository of sources celebrates the diversity of cultures and universal human nature. While mapping these uncharted territories, humor becomes a tool to subvert any kind of monolithic concepts. This exhibition calls for attention to the underground sensibilities lying beneath the façade of glimmering city-lights and dwells upon the function of memory in an ever-increasing ephemerality of the media saturated society by delving deep into make-believe worlds.

Text Saloni
Date 04-11-2021

PHANTASMAGORIA Moon Walk 22 x 30 inches, Gouache and gold leaf on Saunders Waterford paper

Pratul Dash

Moon Walk 22 x 30 inches, Gouache and gold leaf on Saunders Waterford paper