[In]Sanity In the Age of Reason

New Delhi, 2017

[In]Sanity In the Age of Reason

New Delhi, 2017

Elements / wood, steel, motors / 16 x 46 x 13.5 in

The work FIVE ELEMENTS is nspired by the mathematical three-dimensional forms of the Platonic solids, named after the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, who designed them around 350 A.D. to represent the atomic pattern of the five classical elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether.

Acceleration / ghungroos, fabric, wood and steel / 2 x 117 x 330 in / 2017

The work ACCELERATION, is based on Professor Will Steffen’s climate change graph “The Great Acceleration”, which shows the changes in Earth’s ecosystem and atmosphere owing to changing economic patterns of production and consumption, the latter especially gaining momentum post the 1950s.
Ghungroos, which have been a trademark of Galhotra’s practice, provide fluidity, and therefore tactfully employed by her to deconstruct the anthropogenic trends and reconstruct Steffen’s graph. The metallic sheen of this graphical representation is ambiguous, since while the shiny surface draws the viewer close, bringing him faceto-face with Anthropogenic realities, yet the aesthetic appeal is almost evasive of the very dire realities the work represents, in the process, presenting a satire of sorts concerning our attitude towards our environment.
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Manthan / film duration 10:44 mins / 2015

Water or Jal is the underlying concern of the work MANTHAN, a short film. The element water is dualistic in character, being eternal in its atomic form and yet being perishable in the form of water bodies. The film depicts four people dressed in rubber suits churning the sludge and sediments from the river, thereby invoking Hindu mythology where the gods churn the ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality.

Remains / resin, fabric and metal / 8 x 5.5 x 94 in / 2015-16

The work remains is formed from the shroud like cloths dipped in the Yamuna in the film Manthan firstly before it mixes with the sewage and secondly after it becomes a real cesspool, the color of the fabric revealing the level of contamination of the polluted river in each case. In the sculptural works thus created, the churned fabric along with sediments from the river are inserted in resin, and then encased to archive the contamination of the river, their toxic translucency capturing the contamination of the present times itself.

Breath by Breath /digital print on archival paper / 18 x 36 in / 2016-17

The work combustions is based on the ancient water clock concept encapsulating the element of Fire or Agni. The clock, which denotes time, is made using a big pan filled with burnt oil,containing a small bowl with a pinhole that measures time intervals. Resonating with fire’s essential characteristic i.e. heat, the use of diesel instead of water is a metaphor for humans running out of time to save our planet from becoming ashen through the overuse of fossil fuels.

Cleansing / video in loop / 2016

The work cleansing is an amalgamation of the concerns associated with the elements Air and Earth. Environmental pollution due to mining and quarrying activities coupled with the rise in road traffic and congestion is leading to escalating dust levels. The latter is causing dust deposition on plants and vegetation in turn adversely affecting internal plant processes like photosynthesis,respiration, transpiration, and absorption of phytotoxic gaseous pollutants.

Time Symphony and cacophony/ steel and sound / 96 x 168 x 24 in / 2016-17

Ether or Akasha, the most pivotal yet subtle of elements, represents the space the otherelements fill in. The origin of ether is shabda or sound in its primordial, un-manifested form, in the form of vibrations which emerge long before they take the form of sound in the ear. Sound and ether are, therefore, inseparable. As a homage to these sound vibrations, the work time Symphony and cacophony, therefore, presents an interactive sound wall incorporating sounds from different time periods, which can be triggered on touch at multiple points.

Combustion / steel, brass and brunt fossil fuel / 60 in dia / 2016

The work combustions is based on the ancient water clock concept encapsulating the element of Fire or Agni. The clock, which denotes time, is made using a big pan filled with burnt oil,containing a small bowl with a pinhole that measures time intervals. Resonating with fire’s essential characteristic i.e. heat, the use of diesel instead of water is a metaphor for humans running out of time to save our planet from becoming ashen through the overuse of fossil fuels.

Marks / linoleum and foot print / 18 x 30 in / 2016-17

The work, marks, inclines towards the element Earth or Prithvi, resulting from the unknown participation of people walking on linoleum mats laid out at different public places including school, market, parking lot, temple, bank post-demonetization (November 2016), hospital, traffic, metro station, spice market, etc.Resonating with Stanley Brouwn’s practice which explored the impact of our daily actions on the environment, the work captures the abstract imagery of people’s footprints, metaphoricallyrepresenting the imprints or rather stains we are leaving behind on our planet.

Concrete Burden / found branches, concrete, brass

[In]Sanity In The Age Of Reason is a series of observation, experiences and experimentation formed through the objects constructed on the bases of beliefs from the past, realities of today and imagination of future.
The exhibition takes its inspiration from the manifesto “4000 AD” written by Stanley Brown, nuances of which have continued to resonate in Vibha Galhotra’s artistic practice in the past few years. Galhotra employs the manifesto metaphorically to highlight the environmental concerns of our time in this age of Anthropocene, centering the five elements of water, earth, fire, air, and space.
The absence of the ecology and the presence of technology, absence of environment on the earth and the presence of one way ticket to the mars.  Including film, photographs, objects, chance drawing, performance, sound and objects, the works are based on familiar and unanticipated elements.
This exhibition constructs a surrealist parallel to resonate with elements (panchabutha) in today’s time. The objects themselves question the utopia or dystopia, real or unreal, present or absent, construction or destruction, validity or void, holocene or anthropocene in the times we live in.


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