Rathin Barman | The Thinking Forest is Not a Metaphor: Experimenter – Ballygunge Place

22 February - 26 April 2019

Experimenter is pleased to announce The Thinking Forest Is Not A Metaphor, Rathin Barman’s third solo at the gallery. Barman has long been exploring the nature of built structures and what lies beyond the visible. This exhibition is a continuation of this exploration as Barman probes how we live and finds deep connections between forests and the old homes he visits – both sustaining and nourishing those who inhabit them. Applying an anthropological lens in sculpting and drawing, Barman forms long lasting relationships with inhabitants of these old homes in North Kolkata, which are in various stages of disrepair, demolition and have long lost their past grandeur. Much like the forest, these homes are in effect, polycentric. They have multiple roots, trunks and branches, all of which are interlocked and inseparable and so are its people and their personal histories and relationships with each other. Barman explores this polycentrism of relationships and their built environments in this exhibition.

Anecdote, insight and memory play a crucial role in Barman’s practice. He assimilates memories, building fragile scaffoldings of connections between the architecture of these homes and the people who live and thrive in them. Often in doing so, Barman finds these homes and relationships to be closely intertwined, much like a forest, where each separate root feeds the trunk – a thinking, alive and rich entity, entirely unlike what it seems like on surficial engagement. The exhibition explores this inter-connectivity’s through a body of sculpture in construction materials such as concrete, iron and brass. These are accompanied by works on paper and act as both propositions and reminiscence at the same time. They stand as fluid markers between the built architecture and several transient emotions that may be evoked in living within these spaces.

The Thinking Forest Is Not A Metaphor is about the kinds of spaces that Barman researches and spends time within, their transformations and paradoxes they represent. It is about the different ways in which these paradoxes can dissolve and the challenges this poses for its inhabitants living in that coiled ecology. Barman is interested in the precise conjunction of the disembodiment of the built form and the simultaneous renewal of future possibilities.

Rathin Barman (b. 1981, Tripura, India) lives and works in Kolkata and earned a BFA and MFA in sculpture at Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata after a degree in engineering. Barman’s work has been widely exhibited in India and abroad, notable amongst them being Deeper Within Its Silence – Form and Unbecoming, Devi Art Foundation, curated by Sumakshi Singh, New Delhi (2019); By All Estimates, curated by Pedro de Almeida, 4A Center for the Arts, Sydney (2019 Forthcoming); Home, and a Home, co-curated by Suman Gopinath, Singapore Biennale, (2016); Landscape from Memory (Situation 1), curated by Diana Campbell, Dhaka Art Summit (2015); Rendez-vous/13 Lyon Biennale (2015); Vancouver Biennale (2015); De Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Massachusetts; (2011) among others. Barman’s work is in several private and institutional collections including the Devi Arts Foundation, New Delhi; Singapore Arts Museum, Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi. Barman was awarded the 2016 IFA Museum Fellowship and is artist in residence at Civitella Ranieri, Umbertide, Italy, 2019.