Rathin Barman | No... I Remember It Well: Experimenter – Hindustan Road

25 February - 28 March 2015

Experimenter presents, No…I Remember It Well, Rathin Barman’s second solo at the gallery.

The idea of the ‘home’ acquires a distinctive eminence in conversations with and amidst people displaced. The gravity it commands far exceeds its role as a mere provider of shelter and, to that extent, has little to do with ‘housing’. Instead, it is a stone to tie one’s kite string to, a cache of things remembered and, thus, often a motif of all that is left behind. But this unshakeable image of the past abode is also an idealised rendition of actuality, repeatedly moulded and venerated, as memory tends to be.

Central to Rathin Barman’s second solo show at the Experimenter ‘No... I Remember It Well’, are such memories of home. Following strains of conversations with a handful of the multitudes who trickled into the city from Bangladesh, Rathin translates recollections into sculptural forms. The resultant body of work recreates homes and landscapes remembered, mapping memories and, in the process, embracing the fictive, the non-fictive and the ambiguous overlaps between the two. The title of the show is underscored by this inherent tension between the authority assigned to the soundness of memory and the inconsistencies that mark the process of remembering. But, it resounds also with the violence that characterizes displacement and the abandonment of homes and countries. The wistful lyricism of the title work, ‘No... I Remember It Well’, an aerial view of a skeletal home scattered expanse, offers stark contrast to the upheaval of ‘You Can See the Sky Again’, an inside glimpse of a home destroyed. From near and afar both works relate versions of places forsaken, unwillingly. An artist’s chronicle, the present show is a retelling of the memory of homes left behind as well as the strife of homelessness and the enduring aspiration for a home.

Increasingly, more of us today live in what Edward Said called ‘a generalized condition of homeslessness’. As participants of a highly mobile and globalized world where traditional notions of the home continue to be challenged collective memories of the ideal home, that which has never been seen and which perhaps never was, is reinforced and reinvented to define new economic and sentimental connotations of the ‘Home’. It remains the unmentioned ‘it’ in the title of the show, undeniable in its presence even when absent, much as it haunts everyday banter. Framed by this steady shadow of nostalgia Rathin’s works weave together our ambitions in the present with our imaginings of the past through the archive of meanings that is the ‘Home’.