Anhedonic Dehiscence | Atul Bhalla

30 November 2018 - 03 January 2019

Artist: Atul Bhalla      
Anhedonic Dehiscence  

Dates and Venue: 30 November 2018 to 3 January 2019, Vadehra Art Gallery D-53 Defence Colony  

Anhedonic Dehiscence consists of a combination of new and old body of works – including archival prints, diasecs and installation. With this set of works, Bhalla is in a search for the elusive historical and social truth that can possibly never be known. For him, truth takes the form of water, a recurring motif in his works – liquid in its totality and form, elusive that can never quite be held or possessed. Water takes the shape of a glass or the sea; in 1919 a glass of water was shared by Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims, and the question begged was – who “stained” it first (jutha)? In search of that glass, Bhalla found himself creating the series Objects of Fictitious Togetherness. Historical that bleeds into the present - afflictions and violence occupy Bhalla, and he attempts to conjure history in referential dialogue, re-addressing lost pasts, and re-locates such in the personal, the social, and the cultural. We see a seemingly unmoving videowork of an interior, the only mosque built by a Sikh guru in Sri Hargobindpur, Bhalla’s hometown. But here the cracks, like a wound or dehiscence, dissolve and reappear. They are slow but pending and present, unfocused as one’s vision is. One is unable to grasp.

An 83-year old man was set on fire outside of a temple; he was Dalit.

A young girl who spoke out against sexual violence, was beheaded.   

Bhalla brings us back to present culminations through his landscapes and still-lifes. They are pleasure-less – anhedonic alienation and dissociation. Perfect landscapes breakaway and slivers of wounds tear open, as the viewer expects (blood) gushing. Anhedonic dehiscence is the social condition.  

A series of self-portraits challenge the viewer – the artist has never been more present. Bhalla implicates himself in search of this truth and confines the blame or responsibility to his self.

What does one bring to the table? History, memory, a proclamation?

Bhalla stakes his slab of meat in the conversation, and meets the viewer’s eyes, demanding introspection. The meat remains as is, where the glass of water is shifted around, never spilled. 

Atul Bhalla has explored the physical, historical, and political significance of water in the urban environment of New Delhi through artworks that incorporate sculpture, painting, installation, video, photography, and performance. 

 His recent solo shows include  

‘you always step into the same river “ SepaiEYE New York 2015 

“On the Edge “ and“Ya Ki Kuch aur .Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi .2011 and 2014 respectively.  

Water Works,Grossman Gallery. Lafayette College. Easton. PA. USA. Curation- Donna Gustafsson 2011 

 Recent group exhibitions have brought his work to Sepia International in New York, The Pompidou center, Paris, the IVAM Institute of Modern Art in Valencia, and the Devi Art Foundation in New Delhi.  

He is has shown his photographic work ‘Yamuna Walk’ within “Other and me “ Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah 2014 and  with 

“Walk On” From Richard Long to Janet Cardiff- 40 years of art-walking,Curated by Cynthia Morrison-Bell, at NGCA Sunderland.UK. 

He was also a part of“Floating World”-Curated by  Geeta Kapoor; 50 years of  Chemould Art Gallery  Mumbai. India, April 2014 

Yamuna Elbe Project. Hamburg-Delhi. Site-specific Installations on The Elbe in Hamburg,and On the Yamuna in Delhi. 

 West Heavens, Place –Time- Play: India China Contemporary Art, Curated By Chaitanya Sambrani, Shanghai China. 2010 

Installation of ‘I was not waving but drowning-II’at Harvard Art Museums. Cambridge .USA. December 2010-April and in March,the video installation  

 “Adrift”( On the Dvaipayana)at the Light-Box Gallery, Harvard Art Museums ,Harvard .MA . 

His work is currently displayed as a part of the first Kula Lumpur Biennale 2017.  

He has published two books on his performative works, ‘Yamuna Walk’ University of Washington press, Seattle and London and “What will be my Defeat?’GFLKGalerie für Landschaftskunst Hamburg,  

And an extensive analysis of his work can be found in

 ’You always step into the same river.”Vadehra Art Gallery Publications  

 He lives and works in New Delhi.  

And is an Associate professor at the Shiv Nadar University at the department of Art  and Performance 


For more information regarding the exhibition, please write to us at or call us at +91 11 46103550/ 46103551