Mumbai, Visit an Exhibition Capturing The Impermanence of Existence


Immerse yourself this monsoon in a speculative experience at TARQ’s ongoing group exhibition, Ephemeroptera, in collaboration with Gallery XXL. Meticulously curated by Dhwani Gudka to convey the illusory nature of time, this show features creations of Amitabh Kumar, Daku, Nibha Sikander, Philippe Calia, Sajid Wajid Shaikh, and Vishwa Shroff. The conflict that brings these artists together is the one between the inherently human urge to conserve our physical reality and the universe’s unstoppable forces of transformation.

Nibha Sikander, Entomology Script 1, shows the transitory nature of sentient life
Nibha Sikander, Entomology Script 1, shows the transitory nature of sentient

Through a mesmerising assemblage of mixed media including silkscreen prints, photography, basalt rock and ballpoint on paper, Ephemeroptera encapsulates our anxiety to salvage what we can from inevitable loss and encourages visitors to muse upon their own fragility in a constantly changing world.

Bangalore-based visual artist Amitabh Kumar draws heavily from the dynamic sequences found in comic books, compelling the viewer to draw parallels with the mind-bending transitions that occur within the blink of an eye. Daku, a mysterious graffiti artist from Delhi, employs the medium of ball pins and aerosol on board while Nibha Sikander uses colourful paper cutouts to examine the interplay of light and shadow, not unlike a sundial showing you the evanescence of time.

Vishwa Shroff, House in Delhi, marries the built environment to the impermanence of time.
Vishwa Shroff, House in Delhi, marries the built environment to the impermanence of

Philippe Calia’s photographs build a surreal landscape of Mumbai through a series of staged compositions showing discarded objects in artful disarray. Next in the line-up is Sajid Wajid Shaikh's expressionist sketches and basalt rock sculptures that hypnotise the viewers with their intuitive abstractness. Vishwa Shroff’s sketches in silverpoint on paper illustrate how all architecture is as prone to destruction as its original floor plans.

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These artists, no matter how diverse their histories and formats might be, all express a recurrent sentiment that art is equally defenceless against the laws of entropy as the very moments it tries to preserve. Like a panorama that shows you the ravages of time, this exhibition presents the urban landscape, human psyche, sentient beings and even light itself as incapable of escaping the black hole of oblivion.

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Philippe Calia, After Party (Department of Sculpture), hijacks the reality of the urban landscape of Mumbai.
Philippe Calia, After Party (Department of Sculpture), hijacks the reality of the urban landscape of

Amitabh Kumar’s Five Flags of the Black Sun series, distinct from his comic book Much Much Series, depicts a disembodied eyeball adjusting to darkness and the discomfort one feels amidst the onslaught of change. The piece expands on the idea that a man struggling to see in the dark is not the same as someone who’s lost their sight. Similarly, someone struggling to adapt to their surroundings doesn’t necessarily equal a lack of ability.

Sajid Wajid Shaikh's Nostalgia of the Present sculptures defy logic and grant you with some shocking insight into how the mind perceives constructed environments and the processes of cognition itself. What enters our consciousness through our senses undergoes a marvellous journey before we make our own meaning from the patterns. 

All the artists in this show reflect a similar resilience in their creations. While change is the only constant, the art on display is not at all melancholy or defeatist in spirit but rather a testament to human integrity and the durability of the world in the face of crises. 

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Daku’s Shadow Study and Nibha Sikander’s Negative installations comment upon the cyclical quality of living matter that passes through all seasons unequivocally like the unstoppable march of shadows as the sun rises and sets during the course of a day on our planet. Phillippe Calia’s After Party photographs and Vishwa Shroff’s House in Delhi drawings question the standing traditions of construction shelters and monuments to house our fears and protect us from the uncertain and unpredictable side of nature.

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TARQ and Gallery XXL have synergised this accessible and intimate collection of artwork that holds space for you to bring your own perceptions and ruminations into the frame. The word 'ephemeroptera' is Greek for ‘lasting a day’, the longest that mayflies can survive, and it lends itself very fittingly to the title of this show. 

Come lose yourself in this philosophical exploration of mortality, memories, and the beauty of how nothing stays the same forever.

Date: June 22 - July 29, 2023

Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 am to 6:30 pm

Venue: TARQ, Fort in Mumbai

Find out more about the exhibition here.