Like Siesta, at Triveni Kala Sangam, makes you nostalgic about the slow-paced urban life, the one that existed before the electronic era. This exhibition is the second solo show of upcoming artist Jasleena Singh.
Painting old artefacts and family heirlooms is Singh’s trademark style – her maiden solo show held in May 2018, Yesterday Once More, too showcased old everyday objects – an old family radio, a typewriter, a cane chair, old mugs, a rosary, etc. Like Siesta too is devoted to old objects but with a little departure from their original shapes and sizes – ranging from literal interpretations to metaphorical synthesis, these paintings incorporate dreams, emotions and expressions that influence her work.
Singh’s work has evolved from kitsch to a more subtle palette, wherein she juxtaposes daily use objects in a different environment or background. The first solo show was based on realism, with acrylic on canvas and wood . The second one is a slight departure from realism. The 30 works in water colours, acrylic and ink on paper, are much more varied this time. Some works are minimalist too. As an example, the typewriter which occupied a huge space in last show, is in smaller form now, and with a little distortion.
“Like last time, these works are also realistic, but with a little, say about 20 per cent, distortion. I wanted to break free from fixed forms. This time you can see more play with forms, moods and tones,” explains Singh, adding that for her, creating completely abstract works, is still a long way away.
Sure enough, the last solo’s retro look is making way for the contemporary, both concept and content wise. Does she want to convey a message? “Yes. The idea of this show is to tell people to break free from caged life they are living with their cell phones.”
The works on display show objects that have become scarce or of no use in today’s homes. “These objects exist in our home like monuments in cities and are a reminder of an era gone by, when these were an integral part of our homes,” says Singh, adding, “That was the time when people had time for each other and listened to one another. With the advent of cell phones, almost all these objects like typewriters and telephones have vanished. People are so lost in their mobile phones that they are oblivious to what’s happening around. They have become self-centred and life has become more complicated now.”
“We are living in a superficial word, and are too dependent on approval from social media. I want people to give time to themselves as well as family,” she says.
Sources of inspiration
Apart from her father, Italian artist Giorgio Morandi and French painter Henri de Toulouse Lautrec inspire this alumni of the College of Art, Delhi. This recipient of Prafulla Dahanukar Women’s Merit award in 2017 and Prafulla Dahanukar Women’s Delhi State award in 2018 has had 19 group shows across Delhi-NCR at places like Gallerie Nvya, India Habitat Centre and Lalit Kala Academy among others.