Victoria Miro is delighted to be presenting Upward Movement, NS Harsha’s second solo exhibition with Victoria Miro and his first in the Mayfair gallery.
One of the most significant Indian artists of his generation, Harsha draws on a broad spectrum of Indian artistic and figurative painting traditions and popular arts as well as the western art canon. He has worked across a range of media including painting, sculpture, installation and performance.
For his exhibition at Victoria Miro Mayfair, Harsha has produced a series of paintings that explore notions of ascent. Each canvas features variations on the motif of a particular human, animal or hybrid figure engaged in a singular activity, which may involve physical elevation, technological innovation or spiritual transcendence. These figures are striving to reach something above or beyond, acknowledging and attempting to connect with unknown regions.
Individual paintings focus on musicians and dancers and on langur monkeys and cows, both of which are venerated in Hindu culture. The figures are depicted in a flat, shallow space on backgrounds featuring a single strong colour. There is a musical connotation to the compositions; the figures, in orderly rows, suggest notes on musical staves, and their recurrence and variety can be seen as a visual analogy for chanting and other repetitive or cyclical musical structures.
Harsha has said of this series, ‘Slowly I feel my thoughts are moving towards a kind of abstraction while keeping the absurd narrative as its central engagement’. He has cited Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot as a point of reference, and the paintings emphasise how a quest for higher meaning sits alongside the absurdity of everyday existence.
Born in 1969, NS Harsha lives and works in Mysore, India. He was a recipient of the prestigious DAAD Scholarship in 2012. He was also awarded the Artes Mundi Prize in 2008. Harsha has taken part in a variety of collaborative projects and exhibitions internationally. He has had solo presentations at INIVA, London (2009), and at Maison Hermes Tokyo (2008), and has been included in various group exhibitions, including the Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art (2013)
NS Harsha | Upward Movement
26 March – 25 April 2015
Victoria Miro Mayfair, 14 St George Street, London W1S IFE