A new exhibition by renowned Indian artist NS Harsha features a three-dimensional, wall-mounted painting with a ‘herd’ of 1,400 hand-carved wooden elephants, roaming across a plain made from recycled cardboard.
Entitled Reclaiming the Inner Space, the elephants refer to the ornaments that one might find in Indian souvenir shops, but also recall the elephant processions of Dasara festivities in Mysore, the artist’s home, and elsewhere, celebrated at the end of Navratri each year.
Collected from various sources, including recycling facilities and the artist’s friends and family, the cardboard packaging is attached face-down to the mirror, its printed graphics and logos readable only, up close, in reflection.
The unprinted sides of the packaging, meanwhile, have been partially covered with an explosive trail of dark paint which Harsha has embellished with a detailed constellation of stars and planets. Interweaving local and global points of reference, Reclaiming the Inner Space underscores a sense of interconnectedness that characterises much of Harsha’s art.
Here, the changing consumer habits, cultural customs and labour patterns of his local neighbourhood are aligned with broader socio-political narratives of modernisation, mass-production and our changing relationship to nature.
Other works on view include a number of exquisitely rendered new paintings. While storytelling endures at the heart of Harsha’s practice, a linear narrative remains absent from the compositions of his recent canvases. Instead, through gentle humour and dreamlike grace, he makes quietly philosophical enquiries into the complex economic and cultural realities of contemporary life.
Reclaiming the Inner Space by NS Harsha goes on show from 11 April until 18 May 2019 at Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW. Discover more: victoria-miro.com.