Tuesday 11 March 2014

The Ocean in the Blood: Ranjit Hoskote

Satish Wavare’s abstractions suggest the cellular structure of tissues placed under the microscope. Our eyes are treated to protean and mysterious patterns of growth; the sensation of rich, teeming life attracts our senses. That these paintings have been laid over imperial maps of tidal islands and coral-spiked oceans renders them all the more alluring. It may well be an accident that the artist should have chosen these cartographic records as a base for his pictures; but the viewer, attuned to searching for significance even in the incidental detail, is arrested.
(Bombay 1990: Satish Wavare with Rajshree Apte, Nitin Dadrawala, Prakash Wagmare and Sanjay Sawant )
Abiding connections are made here; as a post-colonial subject, Wavare re-occupies and re-possesses territory alienated from his world by the emperor’s map-maker; and then, a s maker of signs, the artists places his binding cultural instruments over the unbound world of nature. The gesture can no longer be one of arrogant confidence; it must necessarily be a tentative, probing one. 
(2013 :Satish Wavare working in Drawing Box)

And what context could be more suitable for an act of creation than a representation of the oceans? For it was in the primordial oceans that life began; the composition of the original water that surrounded the globe is the composition of hemoglobin. In other words: the archaic ocean of origin still pounds in our blood. Seized by such thoughts, we turn to Wavare’s exercises in symmetry and asymmetry: the halved fruit, the tree developing from a primal. Glutinous soup, the triangle cut by its own double image. 

These rotations and translations of form are charged with some magical energy; as these motifs divide, come apart and mirror themselves, they seem to signify the many centuries if genetic behavior from which they emerge, and the unnamed futurities onto which they hope to extend. 

The interconnectedness of the universe manifests itself through these morphic resonances; it would not be too far-fetched to see at work in these paintings, a sensitivity that has grasped the interconnectedness of the universe, which connects the humblest seed to the highest pyramid. It is, none the less, an inchoate sensibility. Wavare has his conceptual goal in sight, but it is still in the process of serving his apprenticeship to the painterly traditions of skill.
Mumbai: Autum 1996.
Oct 22, 1996- Nov 02, 1996.  - Ranjit Hoskote