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Teja Gavankar, other’s spaces 002, 2016. Dessin, 21, 59 x 27, 94 cm. | Drawing, 21, 59 x 27, 94 cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

Teja Gavankar
From November 11th 2017 to December 16th 2017

Indian artist Teja Gavankar’s field of investigation and action is the everyday and the transformation of space in its most mundane attributes. Her drawings and in situ interventions negotiate the territory’s modes of appearance, distilling its identity and extracting its specificities. She draws from constructed surroundings, made familiar through repeated experience, and teases out new configurations. While the artist has mainly produced site-specific projects in urban spaces, the work presented at OPTICA represents a first gallery production.

Interested in geometry and topologies, Gavankar revisits architectural elements—walls, floors, stairs, and recently, the corner motif—turning them into conditions for the emergence of an experience, seeking to break the tranquil poise of their functionality, structure, and particular characteristics. Yet, these very minimal artistic interventions, whether in two or three dimensions, generate an undeniable force. They manipulate little things, trivialities, in order to produce subtleties that bear great perceptual ambiguities.

The artist’s drawing practice challenges the ruled grid, the paper support-tool that gives one’s stroke a Cartesian guidance and orientation. Many Indian artists have given critical attention to the means of describing, calculating, and measuring various manifestations of the world. Deployed in India during British occupation and associated with modernity and colonialism, these markers have enabled the classification and topology of both the natural and human resources found on the territory. Even if Gavantar, like other artists of India’s new creative generation, does not make direct historical references, her use of the grid remains critical nonetheless. It is a question of tackling restrictive structures and their demands. At times, she will blow the grid apart, favouring curved lines and offset, oblique strokes that run outside the rectilinear compartments or erasing some of the squares. Reinventing the line through such gestures, she brings suppleness to structural rigidity.

Author: Julie Alary Lavallée
Julie Alary Lavallée is a doctoral student in art history at Concordia University.
Her research concerns group shows by contemporary Indian artists in a diasporic context.

Public Presentation of Teja Gavankar at Darling Foundry The event is organised in partnership with the Darling Foundry, 745, Ottawa st., H2C 1R8. The talk will be held in English, while the conversation will be in French and English. Thursday, November 16, from 6 to 8 PM.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

DERY, Milly-Alexandra (2018). « Teja Gavankar : Other’s Spaces », Espace art actuel. no. 119, printemps-été, pp. 89-91.

RAIKAR-MHATRE, Sumedha. «Sumedha Raikar-Mhatre: Born Out Of A Space Crunch, Back From A Show In Montreal, Artist Teja Gavankar Reflects On Mumbai's Geometry And Contradictions Of Urban Living», Mid-day, December 17, 2017.

DELGADO, Jérôme. «Invisibles corruptions, Teja Gavankar séduit avec des petits dérangements de l’ordre établi», Le Devoir, December 2, 2017.



With an MFA from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (India), Teja Gavankar has completed a number of residencies, including one in 2014 at Darling Foundry, Montreal (with the support of the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation). In 2016, she took part in the Young Subcontinent exhibition (Serendipity Art Festival, India). She lives and works in Bombay.