Silent Seasons

Nature Morte Gallery, 2022-23

‘Exuberance on the earth is constant, with or without us.’  Vibha Galhotra

Nature Morte is pleased to present our first solo exhibition of new works by Vibha Galhotra.

The exhibition will occupy both of the gallery’s spaces with work in divers medias. The exhibition reflects Galhotra’s profound deliberations on the new age negotiation of Anthropogenic climate change in the present geological age, which is accelerating rapidly, so is the trauma of loss induced by the climate collapse, colonized biosphere and forced migration due to floods, droughts, pollution, toxicity, fires, mass extinction and so on. works in the exhibition refers to data graphs of warming oceans, nuclear warhead powers, sea full of invisible monster the rising fires, extracted, damaged and dry lands, hunted and imagined futures.

The exhibition's title, Silent Seasons, draws its inspiration from the pioneering and prophetic work of Rachel Carson, who has written passionately about the future of the planet and all life on Earth. Carson calls for humans to act responsibly, carefully, and as stewards of the living earth and insists, “In nature, nothing exists alone.” Galhotra has taken the title of Carson’s book, Silent Spring, and reinterpreted it to cast herself as an observer and narrator of a future fiction, or soon-to-be reality, of apocalyptic situations. SILENT SEASONS imagines post-apocalyptic time, based on the present gendered, raced, colonial, and environmental violence that is and will further impel the devastating patterns of catastrophes one after other. The centerpiece of the exhibitions is a new film by the artist (on view at Dhan Mill) entitled “Un(promised).” Combining footage shot in India, Israel and Jordan, and presented in a panoramic format, the 16-minute film (in color, with sound) revolves around an unidentifiable protagonist, a nomad of both space and time, who wanders through a non-descript yet dramatic landscape which is slowly collapsing from a dearth of sustenance and resources. Through the body, experience, and memory of the protagonist, who aimlessly walks through vast landscapes before an eventual collapse, Galhotra speaks of a humanity that has been pushed into an unbearable toxicity due to the prevalent forces of capitalism and exploitation. Also displayed at Dhan Mill will be a new installation entitled Conference of the Invisible. Composed of 13 large glass panels that have been etched with the images of jellyfish, this ghostly panorama engulfs the viewer into a liminal space that is neither earthly nor aquatic, barely visual and only hesitantly physical. Galhotra has chosen jellyfish as her subject because they have survived since prehistoric times but will also be one of the few species that will flourish in the on-coming transmogrifications of Nature. Completing the display at Dhan Mill will be Future Fables, a six- channel video work, which examines our current ecological crisis as the result of a mechanistic view of the earth, where nature exists only as a resource for humans to use and abuse, rather than as a force of its own, full of agency and meaning.

The exhibition continues in our Vasant Vihar gallery space. There, the centerpiece will be a work entitled Chronotope, crafted in Galhotra’s signature material of ghungroos, a technique she has developed as it enables her to replicate digital pixels into physical surfaces with an almost jewel-like presence. Chronotope reproduces a data graph of global sea surface temperatures, recording the warming of oceans and the resulting changes in weather patterns, as monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For the artist, there is a logic in building the large image slowly, as the ghungroos are similar to beading, and the slow process mimics the scale at which climate change takes place, with an almost infinitesimal procedural duration. Other works on view in Vasant Vihar will include Nuke Love, in which the global proliferation of nuclear warheads is rendered in the materials of an abject poverty, and Bygone Lands, a series of collage works that disfigure idyllic images of nature found in travel magazine advertisements. These and other works implicate the conundrum of human activity and even goodwill into the accelerating creation of dystopian ecologies. Vibha Galhotra’s oeuvre, including sculptures, installations, photographs, videos, site-specific work, and public art interventions, addresses the shifting topography of a world being radically transformed by climate change, consumerism, capitalism, and globalization. Propelled by the constant negotiation between human beings and their ecosystems, Galhotra’s practice utilizes intensive research and intuitive imagination to investigate the social, economic, and political implications of human activity on the environment. She draws from varied disciplines, including the fine arts, ecology, economics, science, spirituality, and political activism to inform a poetic visual response to the environmental changes and restructuring of culture, society, and geography occurring in today’s world.