Wednesday 3 January 2024

MGW 2024 | Areez Katki: As this melts on your knee at TARQ

About the Exhibition

The team at TARQ takes immense pleasure to introduce Areez Katki’s solo show titled As this chin melts on your knee. The exhibition presents a body of work created between 2022 and 2023, across the mediums of textile, paper and sculpture, delving deeper into Katki’s research and unfolding narratives. Exploring the tactile and sensuous nature of textiles has been a recurring focus in Katki’s practice over the past decade. As he gathers and repurposes old, found, and sometimes remnants of newer textiles, one can observe how each piece of cloth carries associations with material memory. These connections can be familial and deeply personal or, at times, reveal more political and historical threads.

Areez Katki Dream Valves, 2023 Kaolinite clay, raku, Caspian Sea sand Individual parts varied, total upon installation (base): 12.2 x 16.5 x 6.2 inches  Courtesy of Areez Katki and TARQ 

Through inquisitive research, Katki began studying the contents of Tablet IV from the Epic of  Gilgamesh, an ancient Mesopotamian odyssey. The narrative of the poem serves as the conceptual  tableau for Katki’s Oneiria series of embroidered panels, as well as their painted studies. Inspired by  Gilgamesh’s journey across an apocalyptic dreamscape with Enkidu, Katki exercised his own psychoanalytic dream-keeping journal where his anxieties of loss, death, and fear unfurled. 

Transcribing, illustrating, and embroidering these visions on khadi panels, Katki reveals his own surreal, often cinematic, visions interlaced with anxieties from a queer antecedent. Five Fragments, which precede the larger Oneiria panels, can be viewed as the artist’s early experiments with using Sumerian cuneiform—the language that the Epic of Gilgamesh was originally inscribed in four millennia ago. These panels are composed with cuneiform symbols which the artist has studied extensively, to form a glossary of unique phrases, made up of simple words that these compositions evoke both linguistically and pictorially. Extending his research around ancient Indigenous histories, Katki has closely examined what remains of Achaemenid art over the past seven years. The process began with an exploration of Persepolitan archives and propagated into a series of nine diptych works on paper. Eliminating scientific and archaeological precision, the works cite artifacts, architectural motifs and subjects from a destroyed and pilfered past, to now reframe and reimagine these histories in a series of enlivened polychromatic compositions.

Areez Katki Anointed 3: Saffron, 2023 Mixed media on Arches cotton paper 12.2 x 12.2 inches Copyright: Copyright Areez Katki, 2023

The newest addition to Katki’s visual language is his venture into three-dimensional earth-based forms where Kaolinite clay, a material sourced and processed from his mother’s garden in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, behaves as a cultural marker of geographic locationality. Katki’s fascination with archaeology and materials from the quotidian, often found and restored, has seen him venture into this arena of excavation and restoration that attempt to reframe the practice of archaeology as a pedagogy rooted in care.

Areez Katki Three clever boys, 2023 Watercolour on Arches cotton paper Top: 11.69 x 8.26 inches Bottom: 5.9 x 11.81 inches Diptych Copyright: Copyright Areez Katki, 2023

As articulated by Adwait Singh, who has written an essay accompanying the show, “Throughout the current body of work, we notice a use of history that can be termed queer. Katki deliberately hones  these unexpected and at times irreverent modes of accessing and mobilising the past perhaps as a  corrective to the differential resistance that the discipline has developed over the course of its established use. This resistance can prove particularly prohibitive to those in the margins who aspire to get their stories admitted into the high annals of history. Faced with systematic exclusions produced by inherent resistances that are as unforgiving as they are relentless, Katki seems to have come up with a reworked mandate: throw a wrench in history.”

Artist: Areez Katki 

About the Artist

Areez Katki's practice dwells around conceptual and material-based intersections which survey the phenomenology of postcolonial identities. Fragmentations of a migrant identity can be traced through objects and material culture, in the recesses of collective memories that host spiritual cosmologies and queering orientations. These relational embodiments and correspondences with materiality are underpinned in Sara Ahmed’s statement that, “Objects extend bodies, certainly, but they also seem to measure the competence of bodies and their capacity to ‘find their way’.” (‘The Orient and Other Others’ Queer Phenomenology 2006).

Navigating across disciplines and pedagogies, Katki’s practice looks toward generating deeper understandings of such affective material. His work also tends to pose questions around conditions such as hybridity, particularly through embodiments that have been subject to rupture. While investigative acts of gathering and conservation run throughout Katki’s nearly decade-long art practice, his writing contextualizes the repurposing of historic material through ongoing engagements with storied narratives and biomythography. Both practices examine the historic and the personal, using gestures which survey the nature of (our) relationships with sites and embodiments.

Katki's work has been exhibited across Oceania, Asia, North America and Europe. It is held in numerous public and private collections internationally. Katki has been invited to present a significant new body of work in ‘Personal Structures’ at the 60th Venice Biennale in 2024. He was recently appointed the Aotearoa NZ visual artist in residence at Künstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin for 2024–2025

As this chin melts on your knee

Areez Katki


Preview: Thursday, 11th January 2024 | 5:00 – 9:00 pm 

Mumbai Gallery Weekend continues from Friday, 12th January – Sunday, 14th January, 11:00 am -

8:00 pm on all three days, Show continues till 24th February 2024 

Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11:00 am to 6:30 pm 

For further enquiries contact: | +91 98213 32108  #ArtistsAtTARQ.

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