The exhibition makes a titular reference to the seminal text, Civilisation and it's Discontents in which Sigmund Freud exposes the palimpsestic nature of history and memory through his metaphorical description of Rome. Particularly in the Indian context, clay and ceramics may be associated with terracotta sculptures, as well as other decorative and utilitarian earthenware created since the Indus Valley civilisation. Just as Freud recalls the history of a space as one that places layers of time onto one plane, this exhibition features works that contribute towards an understanding of the past that defies linear narratives. Given that they bear a sense of archaeological memory, the works evoke a chronicle of trade and other historic connections between diverse parts of the world, subverting contemporary skirmishes across arbitrary border lines.
Kudchadkar’s works delve into macrocosmic aspects of the ethos of cities from socio-political, geographic, as well as psychological perspectives. Ideas concerning exchange, transformation, movement, and human relations with spaces over periods of time are emphasised. Raut’s intricate works study the architectural forms and labyrinthine designs found within organic materials through fragile portrayals of perishable objects. The influences of the organic on the man-made, the notion of randomness and abstraction found in nature, as well as the inevitability of impermanence are highlighted. Additionally, his works compel a reconsideration of the contemporary significance of craftsmanship. Finally, Baliga’s works bend time through uncanny portrayals of objects as terracotta artefacts. His works coerce a consideration of materiality, the development of technology, and the relevance of the handmade in an age of industrial production. The works in the show simultaneously consider daily objects, architectural compositions, as well as immaterial values that build a culture. Through extremely tactile portrayals, the artists conjure intangible ideas concerning fragility, impermanence, and transformation - notions that have remained constant since the beginning of civilisation.