Sperone Westwater is delighted to present Jitish Kallat’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Entitled Tmesis, the exhibition links artistic, historical and scientific inquiries, interlacing the immediate and the cosmic, the telescopic and the microscopic, the past and present.
The main gallery features new double-sided, multi-scopic photo works titled Epicycles, 2020-21, begun during the pandemic as an intimate journal of hand-drawn notations; a ledger of seemingly incidental changes documented by the artist in his studio. Gradually these developed into large, layered photo works that weave together markers of change–a fallen stem, a crack in the wall or an abstraction beneath a chair. Kallat combines these familiar images with photographs drawn from the historic 1955 MoMA exhibition “The Family of Man,” which brought together hundreds of images from photographers around the world in the decade following World War II. Coalescing Kallat’s studio images with a glimpse of humanity from a distant time and place ultimately yields a composite portrait of time and transience. These meticulously produced lenticular images create an illusion of depth, further illuminating the notion of impermanence as images alternately appear and disappear while one circumnavigates each Epicycle. The verso of each work reveals images culled from the artist’s Integer Study drawings, installed nearby.
Over the past year, Kallat has been exploring the planetary present through daily algorithmic counts of the world population. In this series, Integer Study (drawing from life), each drawing displays a timestamp of a specific moment of the day, appearing alongside three sets of freighted numbers–integers that algorithmically estimate the human population of the planet a given moment, along with the estimated births and deaths that have occurred up until that specific time of day. With intricate graphite and aquarelle pencil markings and gesso stains, Kallat’s painterly abstraction contrasts with precise data, forming a triangulation of life by mapping birth, death and time. Creating one drawing per day, the Integer Studies probe an arc of existential questions that morph into ecological ones, from reflections on climate change and extinction to evolution and decay.
Kallat’s new series of paintings, Asymptote, is featured prominently on the second floor gallery. Referencing asymptotic lines—when a curve and a line approach one another but never touch— these paintings attempt to embrace complex themes at a tangent, developing an adjacency without ever intersecting. In each painting, a hand-drawn graph lies beneath metaphoric imagery—improvisatory and speculative abstractions that provide a field for the artist to mine his intuitions. Drawing from a wide range of interdisciplinary inspirations, the works assemble signs, exploratory impulses and ruminations, all of which evoke botanical, suboceanic, celestial and geological formations that coalesce to reveal the signatures of growth, evolution and entropy.
Jitish Kallat was born in Mumbai in 1974 where he currently lives and works. He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including Norrtalje Konsthall, Sweden (2021); the Frist Art Museum, Nashville (2020); The National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (2017); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2016-17); Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2015); Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne (2012); the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (2011); the Art Institute of Chicago (2010-11); and Haunch of Venison, London (2010). In 2014, Kallat was the curator and artistic director of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014. His work Covering Letter featured prominently in the Indian Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. His work is owned by public and private collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; M+ Collection, Hong Kong; National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.