Fractures, an exhibition reviving ancient Indian textiles

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-02-28 10:00:00 – Gurgaon

Devi Art Foundation presents Fracture - Indian textiles, New conversations is the gallery’s first show of the new year, and it presents a range of designers expressing themselves through textiles, drawing from the rich handloom tradition that makes up the warp and weft of India's history.

FRACTURES attempt to showcase India's rainbow diversity of handcrafted textiles. In an age when much of textile design has become mechanized, it will look to prove that weaves done by hand have a personality, an intimacy and a soul that machines will never be able to replicate.

Clearly, the beauty and appeal of handcrafted textiles can never wane. The contemporary textiles here have been collected and commissioned over 14 years by the mother-and-son duo of Lekha and Anupam Poddar, founders of India's first space dedicated to contemporary art.

But these textiles have been designed using traditional techniques, an exercise that is unique in respect that it hasn't been attempted in many decades.

Here's where you find - silk-and-gilded-thread cloth presented as a 3D sculpture, a traditional loom redesigned in a curved fashion to weave a spiralling durrie, and a series of Indian turban cloths presented as if to lament the loss of traditional markers of our society. All this is part of a project that brings together a plethora of hand made textiles from across the country.

Shernaz by Ashdeen Lilaowala is a statue made of Parsi Gara embroidery is on display at the show.

All the textiles were commissioned between 2000 and 2014. Though, in India, textiles is such a visible concept, there are no museum quality masterpieces, said Mayank Kaul.

Fashion designer Rimzim Dadu chose a radically different material - white silicon rubber sheets shredded to thin yarn and given the length of a sari. When held against the light, the textile gives a glimpse of a beautiful pattern that is much like the Jamdani weave. The fabric is delicate and light as a feather like fine muslin, while the stretched yarn gives an undulating pattern.

Shaikh Mohammad Hussain used screen and block print on cotton to depict nine co-centric spheres, representing the planetary bodies. Resembling the beautiful night sky, this is an arresting work. From a distance, the design appears to be a repetition of a sphere nine times over but when viewed closely each sphere shows a different pattern - which calls to mind the diversity in Indian textiles and pattern making.

Artist Astha Butail presents textile, a two-dimensional product, in a three-dimensional format created from the loom itself. The installation called Yokings of the Felicity uses handwoven gold Banarasi kimkhab textile in a contemporary design but draws inspiration from the Rigveda, where gold cloth is accorded great importance.

Textile designer Chandrashekar Bheda gives the cotton Panja dhurrie a new twist. Traditionally, dhurries are spread flat, but the artist defied norms and chose a curved loom. The black and white diamond pattern create the illusion of defying gravity. Bheda is now patenting the idea of the curved loom on which this 20 ft dhurrie was woven.

The works that make up FRACTURE are concepts of craftspersons, textile and fashion designers, visual artists, graphic designers - and also a filmmaker. Some of these inventive individuals have, in fact, worked with textiles for the first time. And many of them come from - and work in - an urban milieu, operating mainly in a studio environment. The challenge, then, was in the creation.

Fracture, Indian Textiles, New Conversations is on till May 2015 at Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, curated by Mayank Mansingh Kaul, Rahul Jain and Sanjay Garg that showcases a wide range of hand-made Indian textiles presented in a contemporary context.

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