WHAT A BODY REMEMBERS

Recent Work by SEEMA KOHLI

Curated by: LINA VINCENT SUNISH

04 April 2018 – 04 May 2018  |  Daily 11am – 7pm, Sundays open

INTERSECTIONS: THE SACRED AND SECULAR – Lina Vincent Sunish

“What a Body Remembers” is a compilation of recent works by Seema Kohli that embody a symbiotic relationship between the Self and the cosmos. Over several decades of artistic practice, Seema has developed a unique language; her visual vocabulary is associated with altering hierarchies within the corporeal, cognitive and subconscious states, communicating both imaginary and abstract impressions. The grids that exist between the sacred and secular, reality and fantasy, performance and documentation, objectivity and subjectivity, action and passivity are negotiated, stories are told and memories are resurrected.

The painted surfaces are alive with layers of interlocking forms, lines and patterns, producing relationships of profusion – it is a hybrid world that combines aspects of drawing and mapping, illuminating new landscapes every moment. The figures float through these landscapes, tumbling, flying and galloping through space and time. The Hiranyagarbha or golden womb, a celebration of the primordial female aspect holds an intrinsically significant space in the works, as do contemplations on the manifestations of sacred texts and esoteric practices.

They way her fingers draw and interpret space, relates directly to how Seema sees with her mind’s eye, and how she feels with her consciousness. There exists a joy of abandon, a dire need to express and create, continually. Yet, there are pauses that are meditative and transformative, islands of stillness in the flurry of dynamic chaos. Here, inner and outer experiences merge into one, and the macrocosm and microcosm unite in poetic detail. There is perpetual interplay between line, figure and narrative, a sense of motion and action and the thrill of colour. Seema writes pictures as one would words, producing physical representations of the innate energies within herself.

The painted cows are extravagant areas of richness – their bodies tattooed in design from head to toe. These forms find reference in the sweetness and grace of cow-depictions in Indian miniatures; each body is stylised and rhythmic. They become repositories for story telling without the rigid boundaries of a frame, the rounded contours creating an organic pathway for the eye to follow. Paintings cover the topography of the animal body, depicting scenes of both mythical and contemporary origin. The series of etchings and monochromatic prints reveal a palimpsest of forms and elements of mundane life, morphing into each other, revealing traces over which to ponder and yielding mysterious states of matter. These highly imaginative, and compact picture planes, blend essences of timelessness with references to an everyday world spliced in between.

Several decades of multi-disciplinary practise have contributed to Seema’s diverse visual vocabulary, in which a succession of organic transformations can be marked. Her repertoire has grown to embrace more voluminous objects like sculpture and relief work, as well as peformative acts extended through the body. “What a Body Remembers” like past series’ by the artist, reflects an awareness and knowledge of becoming a medium that mirrors the universe.

Through her art, Seema embraces history, spirituality, and cultural reflections, as well as gender discussions and feminism in a subtle way – bridging the space between her personal context and a universal one. Her work seeks to establish the cyclic relationship between art, nature and society using contemporary philosophy as the conceptual framework.

Exhibits in this show

Project Details