Rathin Barman | And My Eyes Fill With Sand…: Experimenter - Hindustan Road

21 December 2011 - 5 February 2012

Unabated consumption, mindless consumerism and destabilizing economic growth over the last quarter of a century has brought the world to the brink of an unprecedented economic and thereby social and political crisis. Seemingly stable and secure ‘developed’ nations are reeling under the pressure of the public demanding answers to the growing economic divide and absence of accountability. Street protestors and their incidents of violent outbursts and non-violent occupations of economic hubs are marking headlines. There seems to have been an inevitability of this situation long before we stepped into the new millennium. In referring to dialectic materialism, thinkers like Marx, Engels and Dietzgen have concurrently stated over a century ago that, “every economic order grows to a state of maximum efficiency, while at the same time developing internal contradictions or weaknesses that contribute to its decay.”

Rathin Barman’s first solo And My Eyes Fill With Sand… is less a comment on the crisis and more an observation on mankind’s insatiable need (‘internal contradictions’) for excess against the backdrop of this global meltdown. Deeply interested with urbanism, materialism, the ever-growing desire to expand our urban sprawls and its related effects, Barman sculpts in mediums of change and symbols of consumption. Creating an entire apartment out of discarded corrugated boxes of consumer durables packaging in one work, he indicates to the empty, materialistic city lives we live. In another piece, Barman sculpts out tools used for the construction industry from used fire-bricks collected from old homes that are broken to create high-rises packing people like sardines into their tiny units. For Barman, these bricks serve both, as a medium for development & hope as well as an obliterator of histories.

As part of an ongoing project on the fate of old buildings in Kolkata about to be redeveloped, Barman slips into the role of a documenter and interventionist. He places miniature maquettes of contemporary furniture between the worn out portions of broken walls inhabiting them temporarily with the contraptions of city life and visually as apartment units that are decaying from within. Sometimes photographing the miniature furniture in situ, at other times leaving them to be demolished with the old wall serve as exercises in understanding the city, principles of ownership and capturing the fabric of his immediate surroundings. Barman tries the tenacity of the fabric of city life, pricks its high pressure trappings and cajoles out its complexities in And My Eyes Fill With Sand...