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Weaving Conventional with Experimental

Ganesh Dhareshwar has tried to explore the social, cultural and even spiritual understandings, freely transcending the rules to offer a visual treat, says Alka Chadha Harpalani.

Madonna Ciccone had aptly put it, “I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.” In the same vein, Spiritual Rumination, an exhibition by Ganesh Dhareshwar dares to plunge into innovative domains- parallel and overlapping ones too, holding onto both conventional and experimental approaches. What connects an onlooker to works of art is the treatment, letting the eye travel in waves, which sustained numerous creative levels. The artist has tried to explore the social, cultural and even spiritual understandings, freely transcending and letting the rules knowingly and unknowingly combine in certain ways to become a visual treat. At one point there’s calmness, at another there’s an aptitude to interchange swiftly from one stylistic language to another. It churns one’s mind, and shakes it to rethink and refocus. The show embraces the shift of the themes.

One can feel the dynamism and extemporaneity of lines and brush strokes in the play of white, greys and blacks in the abstractions. There are deliberately elongated arms and distorted human figures taking mind back to El Greco’s art. The forms are nestled in colours, jute, tapestries, embroideries and weavings. Uneven patches stitched over the canvas and forming asymmetrical shape, blended with calligraphy or random script harmoniously get adjusted in between the patterns. ‘Finding my pearl’- a gigantic and impressive installation greets everyone as they enter the exhibition hall, with black shining, handmade, teakwood seashell forms, hanging and lying around on a pedestal over the white pebbles. As per the artist, the artwork represents “a precious moment one lives in, denying its perfection and yet searching for right time to enjoy life, while the actual one is simply slipping away.”

“A collage of percussion instruments helmed the table leathers with hints of glitter, the installation poses questions and provokes askance. Ganesh Dhareshwar at a relatively young age exhibits vintage insouciance…

Meditative struggles of temperance within and emerging realities are some of the themes that speak in telling decibels of angst and silence. There are very many vicissitudes of functional challenges that are intermittently experimented with. The design grammar is a smorgasbord and acutely symbolic with a plethora of cultural possibilities and pluralism. He covers a wide range gambit extending a contemporary vibe to a circular formation of chairs that reflect the work and life dynamic of urban climes and connectivity of tech and the hapless souls. It is quite an experience and many a flailing erupts of challenge” says Kiran Bagade, curator and art historian.

The exhibition is like a roller coaster of fluctuating considerations, but the strong thought process is so obvious behind each expression whether it is in a painting, installation, assemblage or a sculpture. A new indicative and playful message- with nature, birds, human, technology, mirror and illustrations- enwraps ‘on, over and behind’ each broken, asymmetrical, barren or reclining chair displayed in a circle; while there are connotations of vicious satire in a chair full of nails kept over a royal carpet, telling a story of accountability and challenges which come with a responsible post. Another scene in the Hall captures the narrative scrolls overflowing from roof to the floor. Eye moves evenly and suddenly a newfangled intriguing medium pops up. Sets of worn out and torn tabla tops, compiling of the bayan and dayan, bejewelled with white, blue and ochre colour dots, have been aesthetically displayed over a wall adding more beats and notes to the concept. Installation with bricks, horns and mud reflect artist’s cultural aspect. The presentation, which spread across four galleries in Chitrakala Parishath Bangalore from June 16 to June 21, 2023, had an entirely professional essence where in the wholesome harmonious collaboration, even the infinitesimal of the details has been kept in mind by the curator CS Krishna Setty- an eminent artist and former chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. He sums up the works of Ganesh aptly in his words, “Sri Aurobindo opines that the first and the lowest use of art is purely aesthetic, the second is the intellectual or educative, the third and the highest the spiritual. Ganesh Dhareshwar’s recent suite of works resonate the same concept, but he enlarges these in his own way. He has been following the usual modern troupe and now drastically changed his iconography and trajectory of search into rapidly changing times.

As quoted in Sivasutra, ‘embrace the destruction of the old to make way for the creation of the new,’ he delves into realms of spirituality to explore new interpretations. This upcoming artist is well versed in social and spiritual aspects too, and committed to bring the inner voices out, using symbols and metaphors. He juggles skilfully between varied mediums and genres depending upon artistic intent. Being a vociferous visual composer with an acute sensitivity to his surroundings, Dhareshwar uses his observation skills to context to the emerging beliefs of the visual world.”

Broader class of artworks can not only drag out various suggestive or evocative words like ‘contemplative’, ‘optimistic’, ‘balanced’, ‘spiritual’, ‘repetitive’, ‘experimental’, ‘ornamental’ etc but also point out towards wider beliefs, cultures, realizations, emotions, views and perspectives. There is an obvious ‘over the time’ evolution of an artist. About his re- enactment of a ritual, Ganesh says, “My works are the manifestations of my conscious and subconscious mind. Though it is not as profound as the one who reaches the higher levels of pure consciousness in meditation, I believe that the total surrender and involvement with the work process in any good practice makes it never the least either. It is not that I don’t have any doubts.

Neither are these my extreme works I possess, nor do I continue to believe the same without change. I certainly accept the flaws which I find in them but as of now, I genuinely feel that these are righteous deeds which I’m showcasing here.” Overall, the show was an interface of verbal and spatial acumen, multisensorial reliance and an inclination for and openness to boundless involvements.

Alka Chadha Harpalani is an artist and a writer based out of Bangalore. She can be contacted at