Kolkata's Gallery Experimenter displays works of artist, sculptor Rathin Barman
Gallery Experimenter is holding an exhibition, The Thinking Forest Is Not A Metaphor, by sculptor and artist Rathin Barman. It is about the kinds of spaces that Barman researches and spends time within, their transformations and paradoxes they represent. It is also about the different ways in which these paradoxes can dissolve and the challenges this poses for its inhabitants living in that coiled ecology. Barman is interested in the precise conjunction of the disembodiment of the built form and the simultaneous renewal of future possibilities.
Barman has long been exploring the nature of built structures and what lies beyond the visible. This exhibition, Barman’s third at Experimenter, is a continuation of this exploration, as Barman probes how we live and finds deep connections between forests and the old homes he visits – both sustaining and nourishing those who inhabit them.
Applying an anthropological lens in sculpting and drawing, Barman forms long lasting relationships with inhabitants of these old homes in North Kolkata, which are in various stages of disrepair, demolition and have long lost their past grandeur. “Much like the forest, these homes are in effect, polycentric. They have multiple roots, trunks and branches, all of which are interlocked and inseparable and so are its people and their personal histories and relationships with each other,” explains Barman, who explores this polycentrism of relationships and their built environments in this exhibition.
Anecdote, insight and memory play a crucial role in Barman’s practice. He assimilates memories, building fragile scaffoldings of connections between the architecture of these homes and the people, who live and thrive in them. Often in doing so, Barman finds these homes and relationships to be closely intertwined, much like a forest, where each separate root feeds the trunk – thinking, alive and rich entity, entirely unlike what it seems like on superficial engagement.
The exhibition explores this inter-connectivity through a body of sculpture in construction materials, such as concrete, iron and brass. These are accompanied by works on paper and act as both propositions and reminiscence at the same time. They stand as fluid markers between the built architecture and several transient emotions that may be evoked while living within these spaces.
Born in Tripura and raised in Kolkata, Barman, a fine arts student from Rabindra Bharati University, has exhibited his works both in India and abroad including Delhi, Singapore, Dhaka, Vancouver, Massachusetts and Italy. His forthcoming work, By All Estimates, curated by Pedro de Almeida, will be displayed at the Centre for the Arts in Sydney this year.
This exhibition will be on at Experimenter till April 6