Ayesha Sultana | Making Visible: Experimenter – Hindustan Road

21 January - 27 February 2017

Experimenter presents Making Visible, Ayesha Sultana’s second solo at Experimenter, where Sultana explores simultaneously her pursuit of stillness, a deliberated rhythm of work and the aesthetics of silence through a series of drawings and sculptures.

Silence exists as a persistent decision for Sultana, a continuous process of expressing herself through her drawings, but always with a sense of minimal intervention. She considers drawing not just as an act of making, but essentially as an act of thinking. The vocabulary in the new works on paper for her solo Making Visible, combines interplay between movement and stasis. Three large drawings on paper, Unbound, Measure and Tide, reveal faint marks operating with directions: horizontal, vertical, diagonal and arcs. Each drawing seems to open up its own space, allowing it to pause, but at the same time bound together by structured breaks. The repetitive patterns prevent individual works from being multi-focal. Sultana often deliberates on simple compositions of what already exists around her. Taking leads from frameworks, windows, gates and other built structure that refers back to the basic grid, which is in turn inherent to any form, find their presence in each of these works.

On encountering a series of gouaches, Untitled (Fragments), a sense of mark making becomes apparent; as if the work has a rhythm to the day – repetitive and fragmented, seeming to be dealing with notions of time through the work. With an economy of means of fluid lines, where the tempo is either accelerated or held back or even delayed, the gouache works on paper have a slower, more meandering process, taking in a rhythm. At times playful and at others times having a staccato motion to their appearance, the gouaches seem to capture the pace of the body moving through space, getting rid of the hand, making visible the motion of rhythm, but without being seen.

A suite of sculptures Pool, punctuate the exhibition. The sculptures use glass and paint in enabling Sultana’s ongoing interest to ‘embody liquid’ and thereby explore ideas of visibility as a process. They appear as stacks of glass slabs but on closer interaction, a dense, non-solid, yet visible color can be seen, as though pools of liquid have found form. The ambivalence of the constructed, or using the hand and working with found/industrial material, with minimum intervention gathers importance in Sultana’s developing practice. Another series of floor sculptures Untitled, in painted wood embed themselves in the corners of the gallery with other wooden pieces that resemble planes folded upon them, as though these shapes always existed in their essential forms, but have been made visible only now.

Making Visible brings together Sultana’s practice across a range of mediums where drawing and sculpture become a movement of sight, cultivating a form of attention or a way of looking. Usually thought of as a progressive activity, process is at the fundamental essence of this exhibition. Making Visible touches upon a deeper, associational process, arriving at something that transforms the ordinary to the core of the activity, thereby making time, fractured form, rhythm of motion and unseen fragments unexpectedly visible.

Born in Jessore, Bangladesh, in 1984, Ayesha Sultana received a BFA in Visual Arts (2007) and subsequently a PostGraduate Diploma in Art Education (2008) at the Beaconhouse National University in Lahore. Recent exhibitions include, 11th Gwangju Biennale, curated by Maria Lind, A Space Between Things, Solo Projects – Dhaka Art Summit 2016, You Cannot Cross the Sea by Merely Staring at the Waves – Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna, curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt. Sultana is the recipient of the Samdani Art Award 2014.