‘Shadows of Water, Steps of Light’
Ranjit Hoskote, Smriti Dixit & Yashwant Pitkar
January 2019

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For the upcoming edition of Mumbai Gallery Weekend ’19, Art Musings presents Shadows of Water, Steps of Light, an exhibition that brings together three artists from varied disciplines: Yashwant Pitkar, architect and photographer; Smriti Dixit, painter and installation-maker; and Ranjit Hoskote, poet and essayist.

At the centre of their three-way dialogue are two glorious 11th-century architectural structures, which were once in social use and are today archaeological monuments: the Rani-ki-vav or Queen’s Stepwell at Patan, and the Sun Temple of Modhera, both in Gujarat. The Queen’s Stepwell is an extraordinary structure: in the centuries during which it was active, it served at once as a monumental reservoir in a parched landscape, a richly ornamented temple, and a social space for the community to congregate. The Sun Temple is an architectural celebration of the convergence of solar and terrestrial energies: the dance of sun and water as articulated, especially, in the kund or temple pond, with its ensemble of double stairways forming a system of visual echoes on all sides.

Pitkar and Hoskote have visited both sites, at different times. Dixit reaches out to these places through her imagination. This exhibition has been developed around Pitkar’s subtle, accomplished suite of black-and-white photographs of these two sites – which prompts responses in the shape of a sequence of poems for Hoskote, and a series of works that straddle painting, sculpture and textile work for Dixit. As sahridayas – a Sanskrit term for aesthete, literally meaning “those who share the same heart” – these three artists explore a scintillating history of forms that takes them to the deep sources of an ecologically significant cultural practice.

Gallery Talkthrough – 19 January 2019 at 11.00 am

For the talkthrough, the participating artists will lead viewers on a talkthrough around the exhibition, its contents and contexts. Pitkar will discuss the relationship between architecture, photography and abstraction; Hoskote about his fascination with India’s water cosmology; and Dixit about the dialogue between myth and materiality in her work.