Sheba Chhachhi / Evoking
20th October -
4th December, 2011
‘Evoking The Pause’, an exhibition of photo and video based objects and installations by the artist Sheba Chhachhi, is the first in a new series of solo exhibitions by artists whose work speaks directly to the craft traditions and issues that underlie the founding of the Museum yet evoke the present by challenging orthodoxies and questioning assumptions. Earlier solo exhibitions at the Museum have focused on artists from the Sir J. J. School of Art which had an umbilical link with the museum in the 19th century. This series goes beyond that frame to include artists who have broken the mould through their practice but continue to reference tradition in provocative new ways.
Sheba Chhachhi employs a range of photo based forms. Her work often recuperates ancient iconography, myth and visual traditions to calibrate an inquiry into the contemporary. Chhachhi’s lens based images, both still and moving, investigate issues of decay and violence, personal and collective memory, the marginal and the forgotten and the interplay between the mythic and the social. Her photographic work is predicated on building a relationship with her subjects, the photographs emerging from an invitation to perform and reveal the self excavating dormant histories and latent desires. She configures these images using old maps, texts and copies of original art works from the Museum’s archive to essay a pithy and profound commentary connecting cultural memory with significant urban issues: the abuse and importance of water in our lives; the relationship between the body and the city; the marginalisation of labour that harks back to exploitation during colonial times. Women are key protagonists in these works, interrogating existing notions of dispossession and displacement within the urban metropolis. The works subtly investigate hierarchies sanctified through rituals and rites of power and dominance.
Chhachhi has developed a new artistic language of the moving image light box, which uses a series of still and moving layers of photographic images to cinematic effect. In her large photo based installations, Chhachhi places the photographic image in space with video, sound, light, objects and text. She creates immersive installations and interactive video experiences that extend the boundaries of the medium.