Lokesh Khodke
  10 - 31 January, 2009

. WORKS . PRESS RELEASE . Excerpts from the Catalogue Essays

There are a set of metaphors that Lokesh Khodke employs to deal with the tumult of contemporaneity. One of them is that of the falling sky. This recurring image is significant in that through it he attempts to respond to the dilemma of individuals of the traditional elite class, especially the progressive minded among them, who find themselves caught between two worlds - an emerging world in which the hierarchies of the past are gradually being questioned and reframed, and a conceptual universe which is still fixed within archaic frames. The sky is falling because it was the remnant of a problematic past, an old sky that had needed some reworking. Lokesh is aware that this sky was the limit at which certain things closed off, for women, for dalits and other marginalized peoples. In spite of being painted bright every year by traditional scholarship, he is aware of the places where the paint is peeling off, revealing something bloodied and painful behind it. By placing the portrait of his mother under this sky, he tries to look at this event that is traditionally couched in terms of a disaster or tragedy from a woman’s perspective, and discovers that she breaks out laughing, for this tragedy is not so tragic for her, since as a woman she was already excluded in many ways from that sky of ritual power which had started falling now. What then were the indices that had framed this sky at the moment that it started to disintegrate?

(Excerpts from the catalogue essay BEYOND APOCALYPSE: THE WORKS OF LOKESH KHODKE by Benoy. P. J.)

The multiplicity of language created through the variations of the real plays a significant role in the constitution of Lokesh Khodke’s linguistic trajectory. His certain fascination for the surreal is not simply predicated by the fantasies of appearance but by the recognition that the real is a grimace of reality; a contorted face in which the real of a deadly rage transpires/ appears. In this sense, the real itself is an appearance, an elusive semblance whose fleeting presence/absence is discernable in the gaps and discontinuities of the phenomenal order of reality. The deployment of surreal elements is aimed at exposing the fact that the universal notion of the real/rationale itself is an empty-signifier which hides its own artificiality/relativity through the claim that it signifies what is the objective/scientific reality. Or in other words, unlike the language of real, at the outset itself the surreal declares its own artificiality and further exposes that our notion of the ‘real way of seeing things’ is a byproduct of the way in which our consciousness is conditioned historically. In that sense the language of surreal fundamentally unsettles the normative notions about the ‘conscious/coherent -self’ which perceives the world in its actuality/totality. The plurality of perspectives is one of the other aspects which contributes immense components to the semantic solidity of his works. He appropriates these Surrealist traits in order to engage with the multiplicities of positions that exist within each subjective location. His attempt is not to resolve the complexities through unifying them in a singular space or simply to allocate space for coexistence but to trigger the tensions inherent in these relations. In that sense a common characteristic of all his works can be defined as a dialogic encounter with the social order-ing.

(Excerpts from the catalogue essay On/Of the Absent Presence of Spaces and Images by santhosh.s)


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