Gallery Espace opens ‘Like A Leaf in Autumn’, a solo exhibition by Waswo X. Waswo & R. Vijay on October 11. The exhibition will showcase a suite of miniature paintings conceptualised by Waswo and executed by R. Vijay.
Waswo is an American photographer and poet, while R. Vijay (short for Ramgopal Vijayvargiya) is a skilled miniature painter from Udaipur. Their collaboration, going back over a decade, has resulted in a series of contemporary miniatures whose composition and style are reminiscent of Mughal miniature paintings or Nathdwara pichwais.Their subtext and subject, however, touch upon the here and now – the legacy of colonialism, the problem of refugees, and such like. Waswo himself is the protagonist in many of the paintings, dressed incongruously in a white suite, or polka-dotted underwear, in a stereotypical mise en scene of the white male tourist/colonialist confronted by and confronting exotic India. The miniatures are multi-layered and dense in their narratives with minute detailing.The set of miniatures at the gallery are characterised by exquisitely wrought bordersthat are dense and minutely detailed.
Extract from essay by art historian Annapurna Garimella in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition:
“Waswo X. Waswo is in his late sixties, living between Udaipur and Bangkok, making art with a posse of artists and assistants in Udaipur and showing it all over the world. The conventional narrative would say that in the autumn of a man’s life, he should become mellow and enjoy the fruits of a life well-lived. Instead, Waswo gives this exhibition a title which indicates the exact opposite is happening — quoting the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk’s beautiful words from his acclaimed novel My Name is Read, he describes his position to be “like a leaf in autumn”, untethered from its branch, fragile as it follows its own evanescence as it whirls down, still full of wonder, beauty, curiosity and possibility, an experience that is simultaneously energizing and demanding. He has made a complex show, choreographed to astonish as storytelling and image-making cohere in richly painted borders. The individual paintings then come together into a muraqqa’ or patchwork, as in a quilt or a Sufi’s robe but also as in an album of paintings….”
Text and Phots: Gallery Espace. The exhibition is on view from October 11- November 11, 2019.