things we do not see | things we cannot see | things we strive to see | things we refuse to see
“Don’t forget beautiful sunsets and cloudy skies…” – Paulo Coelho
But is that all we do not observe? Is there something we cannot observe?
Waning nature in cities has long been the focus of the attention of its residents. Nature is misplaced as humans take over space, creating an environment to suit their perceived needs and leaving only small pockets or manicured greens in between.
This consumerism and efficiency of the urbanscape have begun to spread and seeps into the villages, which are slowly taking transforming into small cities. This change has been gradual, but in its totality is stark leaves us yearning for something that has faded. Nature which we think of as sublime begins to sublime. Sunsets are hidden by the built, skies pale and the trees disappear as we watch. But as we observe –sparrows fly away, butterflies cease to return, autumn sheds fewer leaves, fruit is always bought, bugs do not bite and flowers hide.
‘Field Notes’ is an exploration of the artists’ yearning for the simplicity of the natural habitat of his hometown. Depleted to small pieces that grow between the cracks, these are all that is left behind in the concrete rubble. It is minute and remains unobserved by the passerby.
‘The Museum’ is a display of small pockets of nature found in the streets of Kolkata, preserved with the same precision as and put forth for viewing like an invaluable artwork. The practices of conservation, analysis and exhibition are rendered onto specimens from the streets, otherwise left to decay.
Things we cannot observe, however, tend to draw us unequivocally. They capture our imagination and attention to the extent that we have built instruments to see them – the galaxies far away and the cellular microbial on our skins.
‘(IN)DISCERNABLE’ / ‘Microbial’ is an interpretation of the microscopic form that we have learned to
observe and study. It is a perception of the imperceptible. As unprecedented times take over, the microbial takes center stage and the cellular vies for protection. The series of works ‘Am I Fine?’ documents the everyday worries of living through the pandemic. The relief of not falling prey to the virus portrayed by interpretations of one’s cells – tests indicating well-being, dated and marked “I am fine..”
The portrait series ‘Imposition’ has been created using paan splatters. Although the work inspires from the red-stained walls of the city, both leave us questioning when infliction becomes a nuisance and when do we cease to feel as we refuse to observe. What exists around us continues to exist not caring for our acknowledgment, but a lack of it leaves us in a conundrum that is easily open to the observant eye.
Ragini Jyoti Jain