Bose  Pacia  Kolkata
In collaboration with The Guild, Mumbai.
  27 February  - 15 March, 2009


B  A  L  A  J  I    P  O  N  N  A

B  L  A  C  K  -  S  M  O  K  E

Re- Imagining nation through popular grids of geopi –ety /ty

At Bose Pacia Kolkata in collaboration with The Guild 

Bose Pacia Kolkata and The Guild jointly present the first ever solo show of Balaji Ponna at Bose Pacia Kolkata.

Born in 1980, Balaji Ponna received his B.F.A in Graphics from Andhra University with Gold medal and M.F.A in Graphics from Visva - Bharati University, Santiniketan. He has been recipient of H.R.D. National Scholarship for young Artists (2004–05).

Balaji’s use of specific visual devices, grids, frames, photography, text, repetitive compositions and attempts at subversion can be read as the post modern tools of visual articulations. His usage of soot serves as a formal aesthetic device and a definitive signifier. Balaji’s works are “textual” and it is here that Balaji’s earlier engagement with the popular sign boards and vehicle paintings come to the fore. The texts in his paintings are themselves the titles of the paintings, often relating directly to the visuals and bringing in contradiction/oppositions within the paintings. The text acts more as a pun and are supported visually where the texts are erased or opened up for play by use of soot.

“My present work titled, ‘Black – smoke’ series is the result of nearly my year long indulgence and preoccupation with this concept, along with sly humor which has been an intrinsic part of my work, since my early days. The titles of my works are significant acts, in themselves for through them, I cajole people to look and observe my work in a specific manner, sometimes, like almost filling in a blank. Though the humor in my work might seem overt, it operates in a more subtle and ironic manner often laced with serious sub context, I usually engage with concepts, which are part of popular usage, making them more accessible, for example: ‘Diwali for some body, disaster for
so many’, ‘India is great, But I am not’. Initially, I was interested in transforming the forms which I taken from my immediate life, but now I try to keep the form intact and juxtapose it with text to generate multiple possibilities and meanings. The fusion of verbal and visual intentions is a valid means of achieving my communicative intentions.” – Balaji Ponna.

If we try to trace linearity in Balaji’s works we can infer how he himself has taken a journey in understanding the concept of nationality through his works. In the process of reimaging the nation today Balaji questions the very Bourgeoisie concept of national boundaries and asks for a space free from restrictions and borders.

Balaji Ponna has participated in various group shows over the last couple of years including’ The July Show’ at The Guild and ‘Are We Like This Only’ at Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi.


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