curated by Shubhalakshmi Shukla 








  7 - 25 November, 2008


The Guild Art Gallery is pleased to present, ‘Synonymous’, curated by Shubhalakshmi Shukla.

The show features works by artists, Binu Bhaskar, Kiran Subbaiah, Mithu Sen, Navjot Altaf, Tejal Shah and Vidya Kamat.

“The contemporary visual culture has a lot to do with representations of the self, extending questions of identity. It could mean a direct political presence in a life-scale cut-out image, a larger-than-life image in a film, or an endorsement. Apart from this publicly acknowledgeable presence there is always one that is oriented towards self-revelation and the truth that constructs the ‘personal’ (like the unembellished pages of a diary). 

In the present times self –representation encompasses a larger paradigm of the contemporary art practices. Mostly these images unravel a truth- the artist has been engaged with. Or it perpetuates an unquestioned layer of identity that seems to be transforming on its own. How are these images political? How do they convey the self-revealing truth to the surrounding world? How are these pages consciously written ‘personalized’ and meant to be published? -are the questions which come to the mind.

With an unequivocal interest in the individual as subject from the time of Renaissance, artists have evolved a critical and introspective knowledge about this field. In the present exhibition, they perform instinctively, yet with conscious interests in their presence in a photograph or a video clipping, elevating the genre of photography and film-making from its roots in documentation or journalism. However, one is aware that the two genres have made an impact in the 1970’s art movements in the West, with assertive questions of self-representations dealing with gender and sexuality. 

Most of the works in the present exhibition find a link with undeviating questions around identity with reference to gender and sexuality. At times there is an ironical expression where gloom and beauty appears as inseparable, while on other occasions   black humor appears to form a spontaneous gesture. One also observes that the ‘self’ extends to fantastical representations of ‘family’, glorifying the lost values of togetherness and interdependence against the rise of ruthless individualism. In the times when an individual is continuously made alert and responsible for each action that may construe atomic truths while investigating the synonymous-self, the moments of psychological freedom are less and less. Paradoxically, the present is also about highest regards for consciousness around individualism.  

According to neuroscience (as proposed by Wegner D.M), in self- portraits, the assumption is, that actions are governed by thoughts and body is governed by consciousness. Thus, self portrait leads to the persuasion that we consciously desire to make meaning, a need for the authorship or responsibility of one’s actions. 

The artists of the present times could be viewed through the above observations. They bring across a need for representations that indicate psychological freedom.” - Shubhalakshmi Shukla.

Binu Bhaskar

Born in Kerala in 1972 Binu Bhaskar has a Diploma in Illustrative Photography (Fine Arts) from  Photography Studies College, Melbourne,1996. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in English literature from Calicut University, Kerala since then Binu Bhaskar  has shown in several  solo and group exhibitions in Mumbai, New Delhi, Dubai, Melbourne and New York.

Kiran Subbaiah

Born in 1971 in Subbaiah received his Masters in sculpture at M.S. University, Baroda and Bachelors at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan. He received a scholarship from the INLAKS Foundation to study at the Royal College of Art, London. Over the years Subbaiah has worked with several mediums, creating objects, sculptural assemblages and installations and experimental videos and internet projects. He is presently a participant in the Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam.

Mithu Sen

Mithu Sen obtained her Bachelors & Master's degrees in painting from Santiniketan before she went to the Glasgow School of Art in UK on a Charles Wallace India Trust fellowship. Mithu has traveled widely and worked in studios including Brazil on a UNESCO Ashberg scholarship. Her work has been exhibited in solo shows in Delhi, Mumbai as well as at Machintosh Gallery in Glasgow, and in seminal group shows in New York, Paris, Boston, Switzerland, Seoul, Berlin, London, Pakistan and Australia.

Navjot Altaf

Navjot Altaf studied fine and applied arts at Sir J.J. School of Arts, Mumbai and Graphics at Garhi Studios, New Delhi. Navjot has been involved in interactive collaborative projects with Indian and International Artists and also in site-oriented art projects with tribal artists from Bastar. Navjot has participated in national and international exhibitions at Tate Modern, London, HKW Berlin, Public Places Private Spaces at Newark Museum, New York; 'CONTINUITY AND TRANSFORMATION' Museum show, exhibition promoted by Provincia di Milano, Italy. Navjot has presented papers at international seminars: 2005 ‘Shifting Paradigm’ Carnegie Mellon University, USA and a’How we know what we know’ Fukuoka Asian Art Museum Seminar during the First Asian Art Triennial- Japan.

Tejal Shah

Tejal Shah, born in 1979 is a visual artist working with video, photography and installation. Tejal holds a BA in photography from RMIT, Melbourne, has been an Exchange Scholar at the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently enrolled in the MFA (Film/Video) program at Bard College, New York. She has exhibited widely in museums, galleries and film festivals including, Tate Modern (London), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Brooklyn Museum (New York) and National Gallery of Modern Art (Bombay). In 2003, she co-founded, organised and curated Larzish – India’s 1st International Film Festival of Sexuality and Gender Plurality. She works out of her laptop and Bombay city.

Vidya Kamat

Born in Mumbai, Vidya Kamat, has done her B.F.A in Fine arts and Ph.D in Comparative mythology, from the University of Mumbai. Amongst her solo exhibitons are, ‘Tales from the Edge’ at The Guild, New York, 2007, and ‘Re-write’ at The Guild Mumbai, 2005. In 2008 her works shown in “The Ethics of Encounter: contemporary art from India and Thailand” in Silom Galleria at Gallery Souflower, Bangkok; in Santa Fe and Istanbul Art Fair. Vidya Kamat  lives and works in Mumbai.  


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