Book Of Absence

Book of Absence is a labor of love. Something I started in an old sketchbook in December 2015. It took me exactly a year to complete and while it was a tremendously difficult year, I found a way to pour my grief into this book and it was what kept me moving forward.

In an A4 book format, Book of Absence takes a cue from old botanical and zoological illustrations and positions itself as a visual hand drawn archive depicting a probable loss of species. It is entirely handcrafted and custom bound by hand. Book of Absence exists as a unique edition.

Book of Absence cover

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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