Bringing together a unique sense of colour, inspirations and school of thought, Fold of Disguise by Hetal Chudasama is an interesting glimpse into the mind of the artist.
Based out of Baroda, the 28-year-old who was recently in France as a part of the 2010 French Embassy and Krishnakriti fellowship for residency, brings to the city her first solo art exhibition. Exhibiting a collection of 16 works, which include sets of three and nine smaller paintings, besides single large canvases, Hetal begs to differ when her work is referred to as a ‘collection’. “This is a body of work I put together especially for the gallery. It encompasses a lot of elements, some inspired from my travels and others from life itself.”
The dominant theme of the body of work being existence and a dull shade of turquoise, Fold of Disguise is actually quite an interesting ensemble. The first exhibit that will catch one’s eye is a set of five tall frames that have dresses set between thin sheets, set off by a backlight, giving the effect of silhouettes.
“The dresses are actually costumes from my earlier work titled Amputation, which was a 30-minute video performance that I gave in Italy. The primary idea behind this exhibit came from my studying of drapery. Costumes are the biggest identity for anyone – be it gender, political or social. When costumes are adorned they carry a significance, but by putting them up on their own, it is an abstract approach to the form they give. The focus is not meant to be on anything in particular,” elaborates Hetal.
Explaining that her school of thought is to study an object and rediscover it by breaking it down to its organic origins, the process directly leads her to the body of subject. “I try to find connections between different contexts and subjects, which is why it is important for me to break the form down. How you relate the object of art to a social context is the process I enjoy the most. Ultimately, however, it is about how someone who’s not me will relate to the final product.”
A poetic-artistic soul, Hetal and her work revolve around the concepts of – coming into existence and what it means. “The whole idea of societal existence perhaps come from travels and my childhood. I come from a family where being educated is a big thing. Besides the struggle to be educated, travelling has also opened me up to a feeling of liberation. But there is a violence behind that liberation and there is a quiet beauty and aesthetic to that violence.”
Through her journey thus far, Hetal also lived through the proverbial ‘writer’s block’. Six months of vaccum and nothing to inspire her put her through a lot of turmoil. While there isn’t a direct reference to this, a strong sense of symmetry dominates Hetal’s art, besides the colour blue. “It’s fascinating because I am not a mathematical person. Ask five times into 10 and I’ll be at a loss. Perhaps the symmetry is to help me find order in the chaos. During those six months of vaccum, I had to go back to square one and begin constructing again and that’s where symmetry took a strong hold. I’ve always tried to break away from these influences and do something radically different, but it’s hard and creeps back into my work. In a way, if I do achieve that I believe it will be like a badly written autobiography.”
The blue however, is a different story. Professing to not be a colourist and a more of a monochromatic person who loves her black and white, she explains, “When I was in France, the area I lived in had a clear view of the Mediterranean Sea and the blue I saw was very different from any other sea I’d seen. That was the very same blue I used. The series also has teracotta in it and felt the blue went very well with it. Teracotta after all is the primary colour of our culture.”
Folds of Disguise will remain on display at the Kalakriti Art gallery till October 27.