Frieze London 2022

For Frieze London, our booth emerges from a singular probe: the relation between a corporeal body and its subtracted traces, or material absences, which slowly become portals into a new way of seeing, thinking, and perceiving art in our contemporary time. Our artists reckon with this apparent contradictory relation – of a bodily object and its absence – through their own conceptual oeuvres, wherein the differences in their aproaches become as relevant as their connections. Here, movement and stillness, the tangible and intangible, material and erasure, the literal and emotive, each erode into a play of perceptual realities. 

Beginning with Body Diagram, Sandeep Mukherjee exhumes the subtracted spaces of his own body through processual layering: lying on an aluminum sheet, the artist marks the contours of his body, which is cut (subtracted), to expose a void. This empty space then becomes a frame for a painted image, i.e., an addition, and the entire process repeats, and repeats again. With these layers, Mukherjee captures a fluid movement sliced into absolute stillness. For Amol K Patil, the body becomes irrevocably political; as he exhumes the labor ingrained (yet obscured) from our collective gaze – for instance, construction and sanitation workers that are inevitably relegated to the periphery of our social relations. Here, Patil’s kinetic sculptures become a haunting force, as soil learns to breathe and dust particles gather into magnetic spirals.

A painterly medium anchors both Amitesh Shrivastava and Mahesh Baliga’s works – whereas the former evokes lush, unstable, expressionist landscapes at the brink of abstraction, for Baliga, a quiet, overlooked stillness lingers upon each rendered object, capturing uncanny fragments inside the ordinary. With Huma Mulji and Risham Syed, the city becomes a protagonist, as an alienating fabric unsettles otherwise picturesque compositions. Mulji documents Karachi, a city under lockdown, at a protracted time of waiting. Abandoned empty chairs become a leitmotif: persistent symptoms of modernity captured in banal yet disparate spaces. On the other hand, Syed focuses on the backs of buildings in Lahore – hidden at plain sight – that appear blank, faceless, and indeterminate. She deliberately chooses sites that will be transformed by impending development and are not intended to be seen. Ultimately, in a recoil, the question itself – of a corporeal presence and its intangible shadow – is turned on its head (literally) with a sculpture by Shreyas Karle.