Thinking Projects Pop Up at C24 gallery can seem at first glance to be an expedition: before you, wonders of the world are arrayed in complex configurations. However, unlike expeditionary forces venturing to faraway lands these works are brought to New York audiences by artists Nadiah Bamadhaj (Jogjiakarta), Irfan Önürmen (Istanbul), and Sumakshi Singh (Delhi). Each artist adapts images relevant to their particular cultures, presenting their work within the context of Asia Contemporary Art Week 2017. The exhibition, on view through October 28, invites contemplation on the natural world from different angles and through the lens of mixed media. The triumphant exhibition, curated ACAW director Leeza Ahmady, makes manifest the potent links between US-based galleries and those in partner countries in Asia. This show, in particular, is produced with cooperation between Richard Koh Fine Art (Kuala Lumpur), Exhibit320 (New Delhi) and C24 Gallery (New York).
Singh’s work in the exhibition, in particular, Tree, subtly explores the powerful nuances of the natural environment. The lace drawing pinned on board piece is composed of sumptuous layers of thread undulating across the expanse of the composition. The white wisps clinging to the boughs whisper a wistful longing or a search for meaning subverted. The only certainty of the work lies anchored in the twisted trunk, reaching down toward the gallery floor. The sheer scale of the work invites visitors to appreciate the wonder of the natural world as re-created in organic materials.
Bamaghaj’s charcoal collages on paper, a series entitled Pessimism is Optimistic IV, documents various states of completeness and decay, a meditation on the role that dwellings and architecture play in her native Indonesia. The series of collages present various versions of utility, alternately showing solace or destruction. The intricacies embedded in these works is best appreciated with close and careful glances. Önürmen’s Diffusion presents enmeshed visions of figurative bodies and abstracted substances within a fragile yet haunting installation. Symbols of violence – a fighter pilot and a gun stand out from the melee – vie for attention with minimalist sculptures and abstract gestures. The futility of our place within the current political climate, and a rumination on the impact art history has in such fragile conditions, cannot help but spring to mind.
Asia Contemporary Art Week’s Thinking Projects Pop Up at C24 Gallery is on view through October 28, 2017. More details can be found at the C24 Gallery website.