Currently the subject of a large-scale solo exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, NS Harsha was born in 1969 in Mysore, where he continues to live and work today. Harsha is known for his intricate paintings of individuated figures arrayed in grid-like compositions suggestive of processions or gatherings. The works are often painted on canvas, but can take on life-size proportions when transposed to floors or walls, whether as lone figures done on paper cut-outs and combined with found “personal effects,” or in installations like Sky Gazers (2010), which uses a mirrored ceiling to insert viewers into a throng of people painted beneath their feet. Reminding us of our dual existence as both individuals and members of of a group, each marked by difference and yet fundamentally the same, these works offer an implicit social commentary – one that becomes explicit in satirical works like They Will Manage My Hunger (2006), from the “Charming Nation” series. In other cases, Harsha departs from conventional painting formats altogether, as in installations like Nations (2007), with hand-painted miniature national flags strung from vintage sewing machines, or Leftovers (2008), with custom-made plastic food samples depicting the remnants of an Indian-style feast, produced for the Maison Hermès Le Forum in Tokyo in 2008. Bringing together works made between 1995 and the present, the exhibition at MAM, entitled “Charming Journey,” provides an overview of Harsha’s career and the different themes that inform it. ART iT met with Harsha after the exhibition opened to discuss his work in greater detail.
Art It Asia
4 December 2017