don't hold it in breathe out
Neha Choksi's new solo exhibition titled don't hold it in breathe out, enlarges on the conflicting desires for bodily absence and presence. In addition to performance and video pieces, Neha's body of work includes sculpture, paintings and prints.
Her most recent cycle of work uses absence and abeyance, both in formal and thematic terms, to activate her ideas of solitariness and expiry, the living breathe of mortality, if you will. The cycle began last year with Petting Zoo / Minds to Lose, for which she anesthetized herself and four farm animals; it continues with the present work; and will eventually conclude with her Iceboat project next year.
In the first part of her current show don't hold it in breathe out, Neha imagines a direct human affinity for ruined playthings by placing balloon likenesses of herself amongst blown out, human-scaled balloon casings. For balloons air is form, life. The loss of air is death. There is a fascination with and a happy acceptance of eventual expiry in these works. In addition to these fiberglass and plaster sculptures, Neha has explored similar themes of disquieting yet happy ruin in a series of bruised paintings, blind embossings, and ceramic expressions of balloon explosion scraps.
The second part of the exhibition, Leaf Fall, consists of a video and a large painting of a moment taken from the video, which shows a troupe's denuding of a rural peepul tree over the course of a single day. In the video's last sequence our attention fixes on the solitary sprig made special through the day's relentless process of subtraction. It is this process of absenting and elimination that reveal the emotive force of Leaf Fall. This manifest trauma, the peepul's temporary suspension of life, throws into relief the paradox of loss and inevitable forgetting over time, after a year's worth of new growth. Similarly, Bare, the painting which features that solitary sprig, is deliberately absent of color; the white of the sky and the white of the bare branches flicker in and out of vision.