Prologue - my very private utopia
Once upon a time humans lived under the shadow of big utopias. Called with names like Religion or
Ideology, these big utopias brought masses of individuals together who would live, love and die for them.
This time has passed and now big utopias have been going through a process of fragmentation, the mass started to scatter and the big dream that brought us together became a personal dream, which in many cases set us apart. Following this scenario someone thought that coming together and dreaming together is no longer possible. Quite the opposite, just because coming and dreaming together is no longer the only option, it now becomes more important and meaningful than ever before. The very foundation of Vibha Galhotra comes from this desire. A dreamer, a soldier of personal utopias, the artist is coming to us through her work in order to confront us with very seminal questions. Through her project Galhotra obliges us to reconsider our relationship to ourselves, to the others and to the natural and supernatural that is around us.
Chapter 1 - under the influences
Galhotra creates works that are influenced by her surroundings, especially from the socio-political and ecological environment. India -- the fast pace through which this country is evolving is definitely a key element that can be used to decode her practice. Another important factor influencing her work are the living conditions of people, have to undertake in the present time and the related compromises and negotiations. Galhotra always moves between opposites and she speaks about construction versus deconstruction, micro versus macro. Deeply preoccupied with the state of the natural fabric around, she creates works that result from observations. Working like a sort of sociologist and ecologist the artist analyzes the ecological imbalance that is generated by exploiting and polluting the planet and how the combination of consumerism and population growth is causing a lack of sustainability. This state of unbalance causes deep crisis within the cultural and intellectual field but also determine the patterns of our daily life, which is currently under-going major development due to a rapid and yet soft and- difficult-to-grasp change within our relationship to technology and science, putting humankind in a position of power - the power to build and the power to destroy. Influenced by the poetry of Kabir,
Rabindranath Tagore and by the visions of Albert Einstein, predictions for the future and many more, the artist is looking at the future trying to predict what will happen to the planet if we continue on this path.
Chapter 2 - dirty hands
The conceptual use of materials and their symbolic meaning are a fundamental aspect of Galhotra’s practice. For instance the use of transparent glass beads, beaded in thin wires and weaved together and lighted so that they produce dramatic lyrical shadows refer to the fragile social, political and ecological condition of the world. The use of concrete mixed with natural elements like tree branches and roots are directly quoting the process of urbanization that is currently taking place in India, where nature has been removed in order to let cities like New Delhi expand beyond scale. The employment of fabric and leather is connected to the manufacturing process that stands behind the history of these materials and its connection to the notion of craftsmanship and its current transformation during this time of globalization and corporate thinking. In one of her work, the juxtaposition of soil from different countries becomes a very minimal act against the geopolitical dictates under which we have to live.
However the artist is always avoiding a unique interpretation of her practice and she carefully orchestrates the work so that when it becomes too political something playful and ironic will intervene, bringing the observer to new visions...