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Framed
May 09, 2014

Knitted Metaphors

Using second-hand woollen garments, Chintan Upadhyay creates his version of the fabric of modern life – replete with faceless people and a sense of the bizarre

Chintan Upadhyay’s new body of work, showcased in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron-Redux, is a throwback to his childhood – the time he saw his mother knit for work and pleasure. In his latest solo show at Gallery Espace, New Delhi, presented by Renu Modi, Upadhyay uses secondhand knitted garments as a metaphor for the countless “faceless people of our city”. Upadhyay converts the gallery space into what he says looks like Sarojini Market – the walls and floor of the gallery are dotted with sculptural installations and photographs of faceless forms and figures in stuffed woollen garments.

Over the years, Upadhyay’s creativity has focussed on colossal waste and the mechanical artificiality of modern landscapes. He has often spoken about the time he worked in El Salvador on a residency project where he asked residents to give him their second-hand clothes. The works made with these were filled with sand and installed on the beach. So, when Renu Modi asked him to work on a show, he knew that he “could create another site-specific story”. The works on show are multi-dimensional. They talk about the dignity of labour and the invisible people who fill our daily lives. He also questions the faceless facades of urban spaces.

So, in the works here – wall mounted installations created by stitching dozens of clothes together or photographs of persons whose face and bodies are hidden by woollen garments – a sense of the unusual, often bizarre prevails.

Chintan Upadhyay’s solo show – Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron-Redux – will be on show at Gallery Espace, New Delhi from May 1-May 31, 2014.

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