Ravi Kashi, as an artist renowned as the epitome of exploration and experimentation. While many relate his work to that of svelte and elegant paper sculptures, his art and creativity is so much more in essence. The man from Karnataka who made a mark in contemporary art is displaying at Gallery Sumukha and unleashing his array of phenomenal artworks at this solo showing. Born in Bengaluru in 1968, Ravi, learnt the art of handmade paper making from Glasgow in Scotland, and went on to study Hanji, traditional Korean papermaking from Janji Ji Bang from Korea.
Apart from his artistic prowess, Kashi is an avid writer and has recently published two books , one of which went on to win the Kannada Sahitya Academy Award. At the core of Ravi Kashi’s artwork lies his interest in exploring the mechanics of making sense of meaning. Over the years, he has developed an unconventional artistic vocabulary, supported by a personalised logic, and an aesthetic structure born from a process-based act of combining ideas. He is invested in the conscious and unconscious linking of the visual image with a mental concept, which encourages a viewer to analyse and interpret beyond the initial retinal response.
The works tend to spill their secrets slowly, reliving associations imbued by the artist, and reflecting myriad others arising from individual and collective experience, and triggered memory. With 25 years of art-practice behind him, Kashi is from a generation of artistes that experienced a complexly transforming Indian society with languages that were remarkably divergent in medium and vocabulary but rooted to Indian contemporary. These languages were reflective of new political, cultural and economic realities and the sudden porosity of global boundaries. With an education that opened his experience to Indian art history, craft and popular culture, as well as prominent Western and Far-Eastern art movements, he drew inspiration from varied frameworks. Primarily a painter until then, the turn of the century brought about a deeply conceptual approach in his art making. Something that has indirectly fed his work over the years is an innate love for collecting materials and objects (new, second-hand or discarded)whether bought at local markets, found or received from friends and relatives. These objects are records of a time period with stories and histories — some personal, others pubic.
Some are hand-made, most industrially manufactured, reflecting the consumerist culture. Paper-making and sculpting has become an integral part of Ravi Kashi’s oeuvre. The installation visually recalls many physical and conceptual aspects of his past work. Speaking about the show, Ravi Kashi says, “The show is special as I am displaying my full range of oeuvres in my home city. Some of my works like the Silent Echo has a poetic yet political relevance. I feel art as a medium can express certain things which other mediums cannot.”
— The showing is on till December 31 at Gallery Sumukha. The writer is an art curator and art expert....