Black Beyond Sight: Amina Ahmed, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Parul Thacker

10 Sep – 12 Dec 2020

Jhaveri Contemporary is proud to announce a group show featuring works by Amina Ahmed, the late Anwar Jalal Shemza, and Parul Thacker.

At first glance, black may seem to cast a unifying cloak over the three bodies of works—Ahmed’s etchings on carbon paper, Shemza’s early India ink-on-muslin-on-paper works, and Thacker’s sooty sculptural scenes. Yet the three take an ‘achromatic’ approach to black, unmooring it from its either/or relationship with light. In their hands, black is haptic: it is an accomplice to an experience that reaches beyond sight, channelling something more visceral—sonic, tactile, kinetic—than visual. The medium—ink, soot, carbon—is not simply the indexical means by which black is conveyed to a surface, but is itself wound up in the movement inherent to this achromatic black-as-activity.

When Ahmed pricks the skin of carbon paper with her compass, she penetrates black as generative: her process enlists the site of blackness (rather than the mere medium of the paper) as a source, a background hum to her syncopated mark-marking. Thacker literally sets contours of her pieces ablaze, the camphor flames leaving in their wake an unpredictable black born of the elemental. Shemza’s inked abstractions and hatching-rhythmed still-lifes reinstate black to its rightful ‘thing-ness’: commuted through the tendrils of open-weave muslin, blackness emerges as freely sinuous, bristling with the dynamism that morphs into frame, fish scales, or billow.

These works are not so much seen as they are felt: achromatic black seeps beyond the neat confines of the viewing state, inviting other senses to revel in what was greedily staked for sight.