Artist Sahil Naik's exhibition Monuments, Mausoleums, Memorials, Modernism begins at Experimenter
Architecture is a form of complex cultural technology. It is an intersection of economic, technical, scientific, artistic, legal, media, religious, and political interests. In his second solo, Monuments, Mausoleums, Memorials, Modernism, renowned artist Sahil Naik investigates how the political shapes all other intersections in the modern architecture of human civilisation.
The exhibition that previewed on January 8, has been thrown open for public viewing from today and will continue to be on view till February 25 at Experimenter on Hindustan Road.
In this work of his, Naik probes into the understanding and deployment of architecture as political technology which stands in opposition to the school of thought that considers it as autonomous.
The Austrian architect Gustav Peichl claimed that there was no such thing as democratic or fascist architecture, but only good or bad. It is indeed, at times difficult to link form to ideology, yet as it is apparent today, that just as there was architectural modernism inspired by socialist ideology, such as in the Soviet Union or in Germany’s Weimar Republic or Nehruvian Modernity in India, there is also a version that was inspired by fascism, such as in Italy.
For Naik, the current moment of dystopia and violence we find ourselves in South Asia, specifically, the Indian subcontinent is akin to that time a century ago in North America. I am interested in these opposing intersections and explores architecture, its ambivalence between form and ideology, and the resurgence of the political right that uses architecture as a tool to further its ideologies, through my sculptures and works on paper," tells Sahil Naik.
Naik captures a moment where history seems to be repeating itself though architecture (amongst other devices) as a tool to erase as well as establish. As modernism finds itself at yet another crucial juncture, especially in the times we occupy in South Asia, the exhibition poses crucial questions. It attempts to find ways to reconcile, preserve, perhaps digitize, reproduce or secure these histories for the future in the backdrop of clear indications towards an erasure of the legacies of the pre-colonial, colonial, Nehruvian and non-aligned ideologies through the demolition or "modernization" of several “unstable”, “irreparable” or “unusable” structures.
Critical ideas about modernity and architecture as a form of history-making are confronted in the exhibition through sculptural installations, works on paper and architectural facades in Naik’s body of works on view in the exhibition.
Monuments, Mausoleums, Memorials, Modernism will be on till February 25, at Experimenter, 2/1 Hindustan Road from 6-8 pm