Nestled displays the organic relationship Adip Dutta shared with the late sculptor, Meera Mukherjee

The exhibition, being held at Experimenter, displays the organic relationship Adip Dutta shared with his mentor, the late sculptor, Meera Mukherjee

Sharmistha Ghosal Published :  22nd January 2021 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  22nd January 2021 12:00 AM

Untitled Kantha work, Meera Mukherjee

If you want to witness and behold the kind of artistic influence that the celebrated late sculptor Meera Mukherjee wields upon sculptor and artist Adip Dutta, then you perhaps cannot give Nestled a miss. A collaboration with The Seagull Foundation for the Arts, the exhibition kickstarts from today at Experimenter and brings together the works of Adip Dutta and Meera Mukherjee, revisiting a layered and nuanced relationship between them.

Topographic Spread by Adip Dutta

Although generationally apart, Mukherjee’s influence on Dutta’s work was formative to his visual language. The exhibition attempts to capture that space of dialogue, of times, spent together, of influences formed through a wide range of experiences, and of foundational moments of lucidity for Dutta and a loving, yet restrained, mentoring by Mukherjee.

Untitled Kantha work, Meera Mukherjee

Dutta’s works are bereft of human representation, while Mukherjee’s are immersed in them. Yet signs of human presence are palpable in Dutta’s works as if he attempts to capture the shadow of human action and pauses at a moment, just after a person leaves a space.

Untitled Kantha work, Meera Mukherjee

Meera Mukherjee experimented with several materials and forms in constructing a language for her work that melded the myriad influences of an awareness of her country’s traditions and crafts. Using the stitched kantha, as a point of entry into the exhibition, Nestled presents a body of hand-embroidered work that emerged from Mukherjee’s constant push in imbibing and expanding processes, juxtaposing them with Dutta’s works on paper, sculptures and drawings. Excerpts from a short chat with Adip to get a glimpse of the thought behind the show.

Untitled Kantha work, Meera Mukherjee

What was the idea behind the show?

There are actually two-three different and slightly complexed reasons behind the decision to organise an exhibition. Post-2010, I started looking at spaces for than focussing on objects, turning banal into something beautiful and related to higher disciplines like archaeology.

Untitled Kantha work, Adip Dutta

Priyanka Raja (of Experimenter) was close to my practice and since I have inherited a few of the kanthas as gifts from Meera Mukherjee, we thought of exhibiting the same along with a few of my works. Though there’s no semblance between my work and hers, there are so many things that are structurally common. Our line of thoughts are different but the process entered quietly and organically into my system.

Adip Dutta

For how long had you known Meera Mukherjee?

I had known Meera Mukherjee since the 1980s and as a child, I was immensely drawn to her as a person more than as a sculptor or artist. It was incredible to see a woman living all by herself, who was so self-sufficient, strong, eccentric and volatile, with such depth and holistic knowledge about everything. So, there was an instant connection which grew with time. Mukherjee during her late years started an interesting kantha stitch project with underprivileged children which she continued for 28 years, till her death. In fact, my dissertation was also on the same. She never claimed it as her work, it was an organic initiative to empower the weaker sections of the society.

What are the priceless techniques that you learnt from her?

She was innovative and combined indigenous and western metal casting techniques. But I tried to look at the characteristics of her language that helped build my own language. I use all sorts of techniques that help express my thoughts.

The physical exhibition will be open till March 31, 11 am to 6 pm every day except on Sundays and government-mandated closure dates. By prior appointments only.