Ayesha Sultana | Outside the Field of View: Experimenter – Hindustan Road

9 May - 6 June 2014

Rooted in process and the act of making, Ayesha Sultana’s first solo, Outside the Field of View, provides an insight into her ongoing investigation of drawing, of seeing space in continuum, of exploring gaps in visual memory and of looking at the periphery and what is overlooked in plain sight. 

In a constantly evolving process, Sultana’s work cannot be identified as belonging to a single artistic tendency. She concurrently works in different mediums and techniques, but with a specific interest in the features of materials she uses in the act of making. This leads to other ways of looking and engaging, in the relevance of formal properties of various materials and the depth of meaning of the medium itself. Having discarded the narrative, she often uses drawing as a verb, of 'doing' whether by cutting, folding, piercing, layering, recording, tracing, removing, scratching and so on. A pair of work in the exhibition, made by photocopying for instance, is an extension of that process of investigation, taking its initial source from photography, and later enlarging and creating multiple copies of the same.

An attempt to make visible or to delve into what one can see, and simultaneously translating the visual information, is what engages Sultana. Through the primacy of drawing, this act of looking is to assimilate the experience of her surroundings and space. Space to Sultana seems relational, a field emerging as a result of matter and its parts, in the movement or weight of its fragments, not necessarily marked by a beginning or an end but a structure or a space that never ends – the periphery.

In another body of work, with found and her own photographs, an atmosphere of transience, a kind of abstracted, banal landscape emerges. The pictures may seem groundless, sometimes partially obliterated through solarizing and deliberate scratching off the surface.

The graphite drawings present configurations and arrangements of geometric shapes and spatial structures, in a frame-by-frame progression of image and time, once again bringing forth her interest in the visual understanding of continuation, direction and possibly a form of meditative infinity. On a more tangible level, the smooth surface of the paper is dark but reflective, creating frictions and ruptures and at times resembling metal; while revealing the mineral attributes of graphite and hence referring to the tension produced between the delicate, malleable quality of paper and the austere, detached physicality of graphite.

Counter tendencies of movement and stasis are also evident as an attempt to generate emptiness by filling up the surface. Through other elemental gestures and implications of plotting, measuring and erasure, splicing and filling in, Sultana makes whole, an image that is contained, yet changing. On the other hand, the repetitive marks of the graphite build up a rhythmic field, creating an overall tension that seems to act as a veil to some kind of disclosure.