12 Sep – 12 Oct 2013
American artist and curator Ajay Kurian has been developing a series of silkscreened paintings using clarified butter and gold dust over the past few years. Typically drawn from security envelopes, the patterns on these sumptuous paintings act as symbolic gateways, seen only in a certain light, often disappearing into a cloud of golden dust and the scent of musty butter. The paintings are titled Prevenient, a word most often used in the phrase ‘prevenient grace’— a preliminary grace necessary to then achieve the grace of God. There is no absolute religiosity in the paintings, but ritual remains, and questions of valuation, whether spiritual or monetary, are floating on the surface just as much as possible moments of affective transcendence.
The other objects that populate the exhibition, such as discs of burnt bread each with the fire-gnarled face of Janus, and boxes of a local curry of Kerala with a slight irregularity, offer up different provisions and suggest a more complicated web of references – all tinted by the lens of personal histories, some more honest than others. The simplicity of the materials and approach in this exhibition, Kurian’s first in India, belies a complex lattice of meaning and memory that unfolds, spreads, and bleeds with time.