Friday May 26, 15-18: Opening of two new exhibitions! Munish Wadhia- From From and in Portal: Konst Detox! Presentation of the exhibition at 17.00 by Munish Wadhia and Maja-Lena Molin, Artistic Director of Södertälje konsthall. Konst Detox will present their exhibition. Welcome! ❤️☀️✨
An explosion of different strands of Munish Wadhia’s creative process is on display in Södertälje konsthall. It is a mixture of images, storytelling, colonial criticism, memories from growing up, landscapes of Södertälje and thoughts about cultural heritage and painting.
Munish Wadhia’s art seeks to explore painting as a decolonial practice, to reorientate his world view and give meaning to his experiences and ancestorial inheritance. It is through a rethinking and delinking from modernity and coloniality where he as an artist finds the freedoms to think, play and (re)imagine.
The landscape paintings in the exhibition are based on Hindu Mythological prints. The landscape outside Södertälje where Munish Wadhia lives seem very similar to the pastoral landscapes in the paintings. Some of these landscapes can also be seen on the big screen in the space. The vase with flowers seen in the big carpet in the center of the space is from a book by Owen Jones, “The grammar of ornament”, with illustrations of artefacts and designs from the 1854 Colonial Exposition in London. The other design on the carpet is taken from a design by William Morris. (William Morris and Owen Jones were part of creating what today is the Royal College of Art in London. They also were part of creating the South Kensington model that was taken to the colonies. Munish Wadhia has a master´s degree in painting from the Royal College of Art, and by his investigating its history we can see historical loops and the hybridity of European aesthetics.)
Art history is largely built on a perspective where Europe and the Western world are at the center. This so-called “white gaze” makes the reading of art easily stuck in a colonial world view. The title of the exhibition “From From”– is borrowed from a book of Poems by Monica Youn. The title is a way of discussing authenticity. Or the aesthetics of authenticity. What and who is asked to be authentic? What signs are attached to objects? Or to people? What are the myths that creates European identity? In particular the question “where are you from? No, where are you from from?”
The installation is revealing fluidity in signs rather than essentialized markers of difference. The salt, copper, vinegar, turmeric and falu red become pigments to play with, interacting through chemical processes of corrosion, rust, mutation and visual camouflage. The copper blue/green color rises from the patterned carpet through the copper objects stacked on it. The installation plays with and celebrates the spillages between the patterns of the stencils and the paintings. The objects grow together and become a place of memory inviting and interweaving multidirectional stories.
Munish Wadhia’s art is largely intuitive – he uses materials he has around him. Testing and assembling into sculptures, objects and installations. A secondhand found suit becomes a sculpture – with memories of the father’s profession as a tailor strongly present. The buttons from the suit get another life, and what about the Husqvarna sewing machine? Didn’t Husqvarna actually make guns too? And where have these weapons been used? History, facts and associative processes are mixed in works where each part has an important meaning.
“The art gallery is a permitting and liberating space where everything is possible!” -Munish Wadhia, studio visit April 2023.