21 Mar - 30 April 2021 at the Dashrath Patel Museum, Alibag.
Presented by The Guild in collaboration with Dashrath Patel Foundation.
The Guild is delighted to present SALT, Solo Feature by Riyas Komu.
Komu has been a significant voice in the contemporary art scene with his
compelling works that are a strong take on the political and ideological
turmoil of our current times. Much of Komu’s oeuvre centres around
national and political symbols and historic figures and sites,
re-invoking them to tap into the changed meanings over time serving as a
strong critique of the socio-political milieu of post independent India.
The current exhibition, titled SALT comprising of
installations, assemblages, sculptures, paintings and woodcuts, employs
the mineral as an allegory to explore the multiple social memories,
while problematizing the ‘memory’.
In his concept note, Komu states, “The physical-metaphorical,
chemical-political resonances of this mineral constitute the soul and
sweat of these works; they figure history and contextualise its salty
traces and sediments in the form of memories, dreams and nightmares,
icons, and idols. These works invoke the lingering taste of making, the
memories that haunt the collective unconscious and iconic traces that
provoke civilizational conscience. They oscillate between past and
present, icons and apparitions to feel the taste of what binds and
divides, what is preserved and what is left to decay. They recall
memories and reimagine memorials of political caution and cultural
About the Artist
Riyas Komu born in Kerala (1971) is a critically acclaimed multimedia
artist and curator based in Mumbai. His oeuvre of works is a deep
reflection on social conflicts and pressing issues like migration and
displacement, whereas he draws his inspiration from local and global
social and political movements. Komu’s hyper-realistic oil portraits of
people recall socialist-realist propaganda art. His large scale
sculptural installations in various mediums articulate social and
cultural memories and symbols. He is currently working on a project on
the Indian Constitution titled Aesthetics of Neighbourhood.
Komu obtained his Bachelors and Masters in Painting from Sir. J. J.
School of Art, Mumbai in 1997 and 1999 respectively. In 2007, Komu was
one of two artists from India selected for the 52nd Venice Biennale by
curator Robert Storr. Later, he went on to represent the Iranian
Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Komu has also participated in
the Jogja Biennale, Indonesia, in 2011. He has many solo shows to his
credit which includes, Faith Accompli (Sakshi Salon, 2006), Grass (The
Guild, 2005), Mark Him (The Guild, 2007), Related List (Bodhi
Berlin, 2008), Safe to Light (Azad Art Gallery, 2010), SUBRATO
to CESAR (Gallery Maskara with The Guild, 2010), Holy Shiver (Vadehra
Art Gallery, 2018) and Out of Place (Gallery Sumukha, 2019).
Komu's works have been exhibited globally including in South Africa,
Brazil, France, Germany, UK, Italy, Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the USA, China, UAE, Belgium, The Netherlands and
Iran among others.
Komu ideated Kochi- Muziris Biennale and Co-Founded Kochi Biennale
Foundation (est. 2010). He co-curated the first edition of Kochi-Muziris
Biennale in 2012 and has been the Director of Programmes of the Kochi
Biennale Foundation (2012, 2014, 2016). In his capacity as an arts
administrator he initiated the Students' Biennale, Children's Biennale
(later named as ABC, Art by Children), Artists Cinema, Music of Muziris,
Video Lab, Let's Talk series & History Now (Talks and Seminars), Pepper
House Residency & Exhibition. As an art educator, he has been investing
his time in art education developing art infrastructure in India.
He has been the Advisor and Visual Arts Curator for Serendipity Arts
Festival in Goa in 2016 & 2017 and has done extensive research trips in
the sub-continent and conceptualised and curated the 'Young
Sub-Continent' project in 2016, 17 & 18 in Goa. Komu's curatorial
engagement ranges across fields. He also curated the Kondotty Sufi
Festival in 2019. He co-curated the first International Football Film
Festival in India at Goa International Film Festival and Trivandrum
International Film Festival in 2012. In 2016 he started URU Art Harbour,
a cultural hub in Mattancherry, Kochi, (Kerala) with Zoya Riyas and has
curated many shows to promote artists from the region focusing on
Kerala's history of social action, migration and maritime history, and
culture. Uru Art Harbour also provides a well-supported artist residency
programme that includes exhibitions and engagement with international
About The Guild
The Guild was established in 1997 with an aim to function as a
semi-institutional space within the bustling art-hub of Mumbai, India.
Since its inception, it has been providing a platform for discursive
practices, innovation, and experimentation in contemporary art. For over
two decades The Guild has nurtured artistic production, curatorial
practices and has contributed extensive scholarship on contemporary art
through academically and critically rigorous publications on artists and
their practices. The Gallery has held major retrospectives of important
artists and has collaborated with premier national and international art
centers. In 2015, The Guild opened its new premises in Alibaug with a
large exhibition space, expanding its relevance outside the metro and
continues to vigorously serve the field of visual arts in India.
About Dashrath Patel Foundation
Set up by architect Pinakin Patel in 2012, the Dashrath Patel Museum
displays six decades of Dashrath Patel’s path-breaking work in painting,
ceramics, photography and design. Padmashri Dashrath Patel was the first
director of education of The National Institute of Design, (NID-Ahmedabad)
and is among India's senior artists - a contemporary of V. S. Gaitonde,
Tyeb Mehta, M.F.Husain and closely collaborated with outstanding
luminaries like Charles Eames, Louis Kahn, Henri Cartier Bresson, Frei
Otto, Harindranath Chattopadhyaya, Chandralekha, and numerous others.
The Museum which was renovated and reopened in 2020, aims to bring
creative-minded people together in an inspiring setting.
Salt - Riyas Komu is the first major exhibition of contemporary
art hosted by the Museum. It is delightful to see the artworks by Komu
exhibited in a space that houses the path breaking legacy of India’s
most versatile modernist.
For more details, please contact us at:
Dashrath Patel Foundation
Copyright © The Guild and Dashrath Patel Foundation, 2021.
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