“Line Bombs” — Delhi-based artist Gagan Singh’s debut solo show at Chatterjee & Lal — exhibited delicate minimal drawings on paper underlined with humor, satire and wit. These were accompanied by an animation of the artist erasing a wall and small figurines, which existed discreetly on pillars and hidden corners of the gallery.The drawings on display could broadly be categorized as two series — the autobiographical (represented by a self-caricature of the artist in a turban and beard) and the erotic, with pun and wit acting as the underlying theme (represented with the artist in masked identities).
The artist, who likes to tell stories, presents himself as a self-proclaimed and self-destructive heroic super power in created situations with imaginary characters that subtly comment on various situations with mock satire. The erotic works reference fantasies of hybrid forms of animal and man trapped in humorous and absurd sexual acts. The text that translates these hypothetical frames are “line bombs” that summarize the experience of the everyday — from running a half marathon, to surfing the internet to swinging pendulums of time and the nature of existence with an arrow demolishing the sky (No More Sky, 2014). The artist describes drawing as a medium that allows him to convert “a box into a balloon and solid (substances) into air… and anything else I wish to be (or do).” The animation explores the idea of our futile attempt and limitation to constantly cleanse elements and metaphoric situations that we may not necessarily be in control of.
Inquisitive references to history emerged as primary thoughts while moving through the exhibition of imaginative experiments with evolution, science and sociology. The possibility of consequences that may absurdly occur in a given situation is visually spelt out in Singh’s works. The artist describes “Line Bombs” as: “BOOM! Boom, boom… the line creating a bombing effect” of time, myth, grammar, desire, self-reflection, humor and, above all, the tiny explosions the viewer experiences when witnessing Singh’s drawn stories — where fantasy takes over form and the future appears to belong to the past.