Arpita Singh: Meeting: Frieze No. 9 Cork Street, London

2 - 17 June 2023
Arpita Singh’s works assume new dimension as cartographical autobiographies, accenting imagined characters and landscapes with the flourish of expressionist emotion. With compositions foregrounded in movement, Singh tends to emphasize the potential of individual agency operating within collective constraints, though her mapping doesn’t seem to prioritize any one aspect – whether the fictional, mythical, personal, public fact or dream. These almost think-scapes capture constructs of space in abstraction, whose protagonists occupy their frames implicitly and navigate time, cultures and history through an assemblage of connection.
While Singh’s symbolic mapping lends itself to a narrative reading, her intentionality is rooted in a stream-of-consciousness that expands and envelops, possesses and is possessed by its inevitable existence. Often Singh’s everyday digestions of literature, cinema, current events appear rendered lyrically, even surrealistically, moving from cognition to layers of interpretation that extend through to viewers. The textuality of her compositions are more than gestural inclusions; they represent the linguistics of shared landscapes that resound with fragmentary, diversified, disembodied voices in a congruent symphony that overpowers the coherence of sensorial vision and logic. Instead, by introducing observation points that are topographically flat, Singh personifies questions of beginning and belonging so pivotal to individual and collective journeys. The protagonists themselves emerge as part of the landscape, their internality in a state of flux as outlined by the world, however it is composed, at large.
Close friend of the artist and author Ella Datta writes in her introductory essay to the exhibition:
“After a gap of a couple of years, Arpita comes back with a show of canvases, watercolours and drawings that captures viewers’ attention. In her latest show, Meeting,Arpita creates her usual magic with brush, paint, pen and ink. She presents us with glimpses of other lives in other locales […]
Arpita is a ceaseless experimenter with her language, her material, her practice. In her earlier works, she had usually foregrounded the human figure. In this series of paintings, the figure is part of the entire scene where each element – the sky, the greenery, the water, the built spaces – contributes to a pulsating whole. Is the artist’s vision imagining a world that is not purely anthropocentric?”
Alongside Singh’s solo in the main gallery at FRIEZE, No.9 Cork Street, in the viewing room we present works by three South Asian diasporic contemporary artists working across mediums, including London-based Indian-Canadian photographer Sunil Gupta, whose often theatrical interventions into mainstream cultural consciousnesses re-center subjects such as racism, alternative sexuality, migration, queer issues and marginalia, and Amsterdam-based Indian artist Praneet Soi, whose oeuvre pursues an interplay of open-ended narratives and the circulated image, exploring how symbols migrate across cultures, landscapes and shifting modes of perception. Also, exhibiting with us for the first time, is Houston-based Pakistani artist Zaam Arif, an emerging artist on the rise whose work presents philosophically and introspectively rich inquiries into the human journey and experience.