Seven years have passed since her solo exhibition Organic/Abstract at Chemould Prescott Road in 2010. In the intervening period, Madhvi has been part of several residency programs in the US, Japan, China, Korea and Thailand and international shows and biennales. Most recently, she participated at the first Ceramic Biennale at Henan Museum in China.
Mapping Memory brings together an assembly of conceptual and sensory experiences with her participatory installations, which are both interactive and immersive. Clay, Madhvi’s chosen material for self-expression, has led the way in her journey. For her, the material encompasses the entire organic world and encapsulates within itself all of human history. The material, simultaneously fragile and strong, echoes the dynamism of both nature and the human spirit. She invites the viewer to evoke their own memories of the earth – the substance that we are all made of and one that we will all return to.
Culture theorist, art critic, and curator, Nancy Adajania, describes some of the works in the show “In the manner of a kintsugi artist transforming a crack into an epiphany, Madhvi uses gold to fill and line her memories of journeys made and culs-de-sac overcome. Blurring and morphing now seem to be her preferred strategies.
Observe Madhvi’s enigmatic shadow theatre. When the trees cast their soft shadows outside her studio in Singapore, the road stiffens into a perspective drawing, linear but fractured. When light falls on her earthen buildings, they cast the surprising shadows of trees. A sculpture becomes a dense sketch, an ephemeral wall drawing. What is that floor plan? An excavated civilization, the aerial view of a metropolis, or a city slowly turning into an archaeological site unbeknownst to its greed-afflicted denizens? Elsewhere, the buildings turn into caricatures, distorted bodies swaying to a danse macabre. Hollowed out, evacuated of human presence, do these ruins of a post-industrial landscape embody the artists account of the ravages of the Anthropocene era?
Yet we humans must reclaim our redemptive agency. In the exhibition space, viewers will find balls of clay and sticks, with which to fashion their own trees. Embracing sociality the artist invites her viewers to participate in the unfolding of her project. By imprinting the trees in the gallery, they renew their sense of participation and belonging. And so, Madhvi Subrahmanian maps a ground of trust, distributing the collective potentialities of affect and creative energy through the white cube”.