Ms Nohemi Dragonné

 Tasveer is pleased to invite you to the private preview of Rohit Chawla: The Inspired Frame in Mumbai on 1st April, 7pm onwards at Akara Art

The Inspired Frame brings together Rohit Chawla’s work from four different series that reconstruct tableaus and compositions as featured in famous works of art. Chawla uses contemporary models to recreate life-like experiences of paintings as a personal tribute to renowned and seminal artists Ravi Varma, Gustav Klimt and Frida Kahlo. Also part of the exhibition is a selection of photographs from a series inspired by Mughal miniature paintings that has never been seen before.

The accompanying publication produced in conjunction with The Inspired Frame features reproductions of all of the photographs in the show and text by Rupika Chawla. The book is available at Akara Art and online at the Tasveer Bookstore – www.tasveerbookstore.com.

Limited edition prints are available for sale. For more information, please write to us at info@tasveerarts.com. The exhibition will remain on view until 22nd April 2017.

Memories

A few months ago I was asked what my biggest fear was. I answered without hesitation, losing my memory. The shrink made such a face I still laugh about it. He must have been utterly intrigued by my response since he knew many of my recollections; especially the most recent ones were hell. Yeah, I’ve stared the Devil right in the face, but you know what? I did exactly as Stagger Lee,

Then in came the Devil, he had a pitchfork in his hand. Said, ‘Stagger Lee, I’ve come to take you down’ Well, those were the last words that the Devil said because Stag put four holes in his motherfucking head.

The problem with shrinks is that they all are cut from the same cloth; stereotypically oriented by nature, too commonplace, too normal, too DO (Direct Officer) and I truly dislike being controlled by functional imbeciles. But I went there just to please a concerned someone who thought I needed to talk to a professional in order for me to come to my senses and put some order in my love life. Yeah, right.

Order? OK, but I really don’t know how much professionals of all sorts can do for me. While in India, a former friend of mine took me to a woman who supposedly read past lives. She lived far, far, far away from downtown Mumbai so my old Canon had no rest during that precious 3 hours-ride and that was the most amazing part of it because the moment I entered the session I blacked out, so much that by the end of it the sorcerer had serious troubles waking me up from a profound sleep. My Hindi is very modest; she did not speak any other language known to me, so I’m still wondering if bad karmas were removed from my current soul or are they still lingering over it. I must assume the latter is true because my love life can only be described as a fucking mess in all languages known.

Back to the story, the only thing I could think of during the way back home was how easily, how confidently I lied down on a completely stranger’s bed and comfortably slept there for hours. No worries whatsoever even though the sorcerer had previously, in a casual manner remarked that she shared her bed at night with two other young women who worked for her. Oo-key, other cultures, other costumes, I thought, not my business. You see, this is again my daredevil 7K (Seven Killings) Structure in action.

blog-memoriesAnyway, what I wanted to say is that memories as painful as they could get, are life. And by that I mean, they do not represent it, they ARE life. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing. I know that for sure since I joined for a while my former mother-in-law’s trip into a deep hole of darkness called Alzheimer. You really don’t know what emptiness means until you look into the eyes of such a patient. This shit is scarier than staring at the Devil himself; and I certainly know what I’m talking about because as previously mentioned folks, I well know that one face too.

I recall stupid me asking her gdmnd-no-idea shrink “Is it possible that she had really been de-souled by the disease?” And off he went with some kind of scientific explanation I obviously overheard. But his prolonged monologue gave me the chance to go into myself and ask again, and see, and get my answer. She was totally corroded by the disease because she had no connection to any divine force included the one within herself. She and her whole aristocratic family considered themselves high-levelled intellectuals and always denied the existence of God; which is a respectable position since no one has ever proved the contrary. But it was the lack of spirituality, which doomed her. I am certain of it; had she practiced at least one form of it, that alone could have saved the little rest of life and dignity that remained after losing almost all cognitive neuronal functions.

Spirituality and Brains and Life, that’s a subject I’ll take up later, enough for now.

Photo by Himanshu Singh Gurjar.

HOPE

People wondered why I was so collected, so self-controlled during my husband’s funeral services; no person said a word about it, but I know they all thought I should’ve shown some emotion, any. They expected a wounded, ugly looking widow who was sobbing. Well, folks, no! No time for tears, no apologies, and no regrets. Not then, not now, not ever again. God knows I did what I possibly could and beyond, I’m clean.

I profoundly mourned my husband’s death and the consequential termination of our marriage long before his physical tragic end. The burial was literally the final nail into a self-made coffin, the end of a painful journey that surreptitiously but decisively began ten years prior to his final departure. By the time of his posthumous homage I had shouldered more than my fair share of grief already. I was fully awake, on alert mode since my concern was to safeguard my daughters; bearing the brunt of friends offering grossly foolish condolences.

It was years ago while in India that I came to acknowledge the extent of the damage to myself and my family. Tirelessly driving along the colourful, dusty and infinite roads of Rajasthan, I began to get a full and clear perspective on what had become my life and the perverse impact it was having on my children. A shadow of my former self, I had turned into a ludicrous trophy-wife holding onto a relationship that no longer existed. I was no more than a high-maintenance employee trying to prevent mental illness from taking over, and the ground from collapsing and completely lost myself in the process. No one was to blame for the break-up except for the two of us; he couldn’t help it and I couldn’t take it any more. The unique and loving feeling that once united us drowned; and our lifestyle, privileged and surreal couldn’t disguise the growing void at the core.

Experiencing first hand the chronicle of a death foretold is no fun; this is a trip I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And yet, in retrospect I affirm that everything learnt through this winding path has been a blessing in disguise. It was written in the stars for me to lose almost everything I had and start all over from scratch. Thus I learned the art of wisely and timely surrender and simply let it be…. and reborn.

john_mayer_continuum_by_socfan6700

Months afterward and the future seemed quite uncertain, it was India again which brought me further to my senses. To my own astonishment I found out in India that even under precarious circumstances life still existed and was eagerly waiting for me. Unexpected grateful events nurtured my ever-hungry spirit, and filled my heart with hope. By then I naturally began articulating the first sentences in Hindi, as a child would do. Thought and language in dialectical symbiosis. Good Omen.

A few days ago while waiting at traffic lights I was weighing the idea of accepting a generous invitation to visit India by the end of the year and devote a few weeks to my artistic projects there; or stay in my country earning money and face another hideous Christmas alone, full of obligations and surrounded by false joy. Cars were starting to drive when I noticed it: two cars in front of me, same colour, same size, side by side; one of them a few feet ahead of the other showing the exact same letters and the exact progressive numbers on their license plates. C‘mon, there are 5.3 Million vehicles in circulation in my city!! The Universe works in mysterious ways.

“Move forward. There is a continuum, a next chapter in India”

 

Bijoy Jain

Two years ago I was invited to Mextrópoli, the first international congress for architecture organized by Arquine. I was well prepared to reconnect with several colleagues and acquaintances, but certainly not with Bijoy Jain. I was introduced to part of his work in 2013 during a short trip to India, but I had never heard him talk about Astrology and that alone made the conference worth. This renowned architect shocked an overcritical audience speaking about Monsoons, the Sun, the Moon and how these and other celestial bodies had influence on the way he works. Equally enthralling was the part on how he conceived space in Indian terms. Right in the middle of the conference I caught myself thinking: What’s the chance of a contemporary architect taking seriously the astral movement? What’s the chance of Alibagh coming to Mexico? Statistically maybe .000000001%. Lucky me.

Studio Mumbai

Jain humbly presented the working methods at Studio Mumbai, a collective of architects and Indian craftsman residents, led by him in south Mumbai. Studio Mumbai’s work is based on the act and process of constructing, on the idea of working collectively within the spirit of a workshop. It works with a human infrastructure of skilled artisans, technicians and draftsmen who design and build the work directly. This group shares an environment created from an iterative process, where ideas are explored through the production of large-scale mock-ups, models, material studies, sketches and drawings. Projects are developed through careful consideration of place and practice that draws from traditional skills, local building techniques, materials and an ingenuity arising from limited resources. Here ideas take form through a shared dialogue capable of integrating the thinking and making of architecture; an architecture that, without being self-referential, transforms thoughts into construction.

One can freely say that Bijoy Jain is a revolutionary in his own right. Many architects pay lip service to a building’s environment and local materials. Jain makes these his mantra so that the finished building doesn’t impose itself on the environment and the surroundings, but becomes part of it. It’s a singular achievement because this central idea runs constantly and rigorously through all of his work.

The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

taj-mahal-palace-hotel-bombay-india_980x650I came there alone hoping to catch the last boat back to Alibagh; people quickly surrounded me, a kind swarm watching at me intrigued as if I was carrying a golden secret. And maybe I was; I didn’t know it at that time, but I was holding a seed deep inside of me, as if I was pregnant. My heart beating uncontrollably after the long run, his voice ringing “We’ll meet again” –You wish, what an arrogance!- I said to myself. I turned my head just to be sure nobody had followed me, and then I saw it for the very first time, and by that I mean I apprehended it. This great architectural body, the Taj Mahal Palace rising up reflecting the sun and establishing a visual dialog with the Gateway of India. Splendid.

Wait a minute. How can a facing reflect the sun in that particular manner at that particular time of the afternoon? Up the Mountain, Down the River? Was not W.H. Auden’s brother who said that the hotel’s peculiar appearance was due to a mistake? The builders could not read the plans that the architect had sent from Paris, and they build it backward.

Damn, busy as I was looking for Art I haven’t paid enough attention to the construction. How could I have missed such a huge, evident feature? No doubt, the Taj is built backward, its front facing the city, its back turned to the sea,…… the last boat to Alibagh is taking me away.

Nohemi Dragonné / Mumbai, 2013