Ideate but adapt – creative insights from ceramic artist Khanjan Dalal, Tao Art Gallery
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Mumbai’s Tao Art Gallery, in collaboration with Ahmedabad-based art centre 079 Stories, is presenting the exhibition Discourses by Khanjan Dalal. Wrapping up this weekend, it is the gallery’s first physical show after the lockdown, with physical distancing and other safety measures like masking and pre-registration for scheduled viewing.
Khanjan has worked with several ideas using clay, from functional to sculptural styles. An element of discourse runs through his series of works, based on formats like speech bubbles and even chat boxes. His works are titled A Portrait, Ephemeral Entity, and Armour, among others.
The wall-mounted sculptures are made from gas-fired ceramics and evoke the recorded cacophony of information glut. Other works are themed on samurai culture, with the ethos of heroism and sacrifice. Some of the works are priced from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
“Clay is something that excites me! I would say that I explore clay using various techniques and methods,” Khanjan explains, in a chat with YourStory.
Solitaire is a work inspired by an iconic painting by an American multi-disciplinary artist, Robert Rauschenberg. “He depicted a seagull sitting on a pole overlooking the ocean with fishes. This makes me want to reflect on how we look at the world as if we are ready to consume it like a product,” Khanjan says.
Tao Art Gallery
Another work is enigmatically titled IM2C2E. “It is an acronym for I am too Complicated to Explain. This is derived from my personal experiences and the kind of social discourses prevalent in our society,” he describes.
The anecdote is based on a conversation he once had in Auroville, when he was asked in Gujarati, Tamhe Keva (what caste are you)? “I have been posed this question multiple times in the past. I usually respond by saying that I am too complicated to explain,” Khanjan says.
He sees success as an artist in converting the seed of an idea into a tangible outcome using a range of materials and techniques. “This sheer joy experienced is my definition of success,” he enthuses.
Despite the pandemic lockdowns, Khanjan continued creating artworks in his studio. “However, one thing I couldn’t do was fire my kiln because it takes nine hours to finish the process. So, I alternated to a technique called Raku, wherein you can fire a ceramic piece in three hours,” he explains.
“My work is a continuous process, and I prefer to continue working under any circumstances whatsoever,” Khanjan affirms. He is planning a new range of functional ceramic pieces in the coming months.
He also calls for greater art appreciation in Indian society. “There is a need to introduce school students to ceramics, photography, weaving and many more diverse art forms. This will yield an inherent attitude towards art appreciation amongst people from a nascent stage,” he suggests.
Museums and public institutions also need to foster a positive attitude towards art appreciation. He offers tips to aspiring artists.
“Always be motivated. Be vigilant. Don’t follow trends,” Khanjan signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues for your creative core?
The Box series
Discourses at Tao Art Gallery
Treasury of Loyal Thoughts
Box Series 1
Box Series 2
IM2C2E (I am too Complicated to Explain)
Khanjan Dalal with creative director Sanjana Shah
(All images courtesy the artist and Tao Art Gallery)