At Shrine Empire Gallery, Shadow Lines brings together a group of artists, spanning several generations, who view the world through the prism of light, line and liminality. Their reasons for a turn to abstraction may be different, but what unites them is an emphasis on tactility and texture, line and light, opacity and translucence, and the evocative possibilities of colour. Eschewing a mimetic representation of an outer reality they strive instead to pare it down to its essential elements or revel in the poetics of space. In doing so, they open up new vistas to experience and interrogate the world.
In 1919, the renowned artist Vasily Kandinsky in his essay On Line wrote – “Line experiences many fates. Each creates a particular, specific world, from schematic limitation to unlimited expressivity. These worlds liberate line more and more from the instrument, leading to complete freedom of expression.” Even a century after Kandinsky penned these thoughts, artists continue to be fascinated by the possibilities of line and the worlds they conjure up. What are these many fates that a line can experience, what worlds can it create? More pertinently, why do artists continue to be in its thrall? In the first few decades post-independence, it was easy to see why a non-representational mode of art making held such a draw for Indian artists. It offered them a chance to forge an exciting new visual vocabulary in keeping with the vision of a newly independent nation. Several strains of abstraction emerged employing the subtraction or sublimation of representational elements and notable proponents included V.S. Gaitonde, Ram Kumar and S.H. Raza.