Cadavre Exquis

Cadavre Exquis still

Medium: Video. Length: 3min10. Year: 2016

A provocative and visceral collage, Cadavre Exquis is named after a surrealist parlor game, that sees participants create drawings and collages collaboratively, passing on the drawing for the next participant to complete. A game that required the act of secrecy, where the next participant cannot see the previous drawing, was intended to unearth and free the unconscious.

Much like the game, Cadavre unearths the surrealistic elements of a large-scale fish market in the heart of Mumbai, at Sassoon Docks; indicting the aestheticization of the ‘dead things in the water’ (or formaldehyde, as the case may be) as an object without a purpose. The inclusion of the men who labor to clean, strip, skin and sort these fish, suggests a context that even the superb surreal quality of decaying and fresh fish cannot obfuscate; labor and its conditions, and commodification’s mute victims come together in Cadavre Exquis in a mellowed palette no less difficult than its reality.

Renuka Sawhney, New York 2016

Emerson: Vespertina Cognitio

Vespertina Cognitio Still

Title: Emerson: Vespertina Cognitio. Medium: video. Length: 1:40 minutes. Year: 2011

This work is a compilation of 645 photographs taken one morning in Mumbai of a chestnut, a leaf and a snail’s shell, all found in places that I call home. The photographs constituted a search for the embodiment of a ‘home’ The form of the video – a compilation of sharp and blurred images occurring as glimpses dancing to a silent rhythm of their own – signifies the formation or the accidental discovery of a place as home attributing the formation of the same to momentary memories, ephemeral yet solid.

Marking the passage of time and of the time of the object in an attempt to recapture and frame for the present the past, the work amplifies the discordance and the symphony to which time and memory attend, as always subjective, relative yet eternal.