Possibilities, limits, vulnerabilities and paradoxes of material in the making of an artwork. The inert and extra-discursive conception of matter, and therefore material, comes under the critical lens in a new-materialist turn. Through choice, play and manipulation of materials, the artists open up gateways into their own psychological and political inner lives, dwelling on subjects such as comfort, anxiety, political-will, satire and relationships.
Anju Dodiya’s collage of fabrics and mattresses painted with biblical scenes of the Apocalypse is a careful crafting of materials that allows her to de-personalise the fear of bearing witness to the descent of civilization. Shilpa Gupta’s 100 Hand-Drawn Maps of My Country draws us into the complexities of the construction and delineation of space articulated by man made borders. Atul Dodiya’s cabinet evokes a layered dialogue, referencing defining moments art history while also addressing the complexity of various simultaneous moments in history – in politics, art and culture; while Ranbir Kaleka’s canvas plays with the visual surface and visuality itself, created through a fine layering of metaphoric images and historic iconography.
Through artists' choice and manipulations, the material acquires two types of values - one that emerges from its own object-hood and vitality as in the case of Jane Bennett’s definition of “thing-power”; and second, the kind of value that is thrust upon it through personal association and subjectivity.