18th Jan 2010 - 30th Jan 2010


Kahini Arte Merchant

Beloved imagination, what I most like in you is your unsparing quality.

Andre Breton, from the Manifesto of Surrealism, 1924.

Floating Kettle and Iron on distant waters, dispassionate owners of piggy banks, swans and Bleeding hearts in plastic jungles, a lonesome figure, listening to the flowing sands in an hourglass. A world that is in a mechanical making and yet in a verge of a biological collapse.

Imagination as Unsparing, as it is, an idea that opens up vistas that are emotively all encompassing and yet belong to a deceptively unfamiliar domain of dream like situations. Deceptive because they often refer to the real and the every day and perhaps cast themselves unfamiliar in a world that is essentially oneiric.

One may refer to the present suite of Kahini’s works as being surreal in its contemporary pose of an artist as a decoding agent of the ‘sub-conscious’. However, in the acknowledgement of this convention as iconic in history lends the work a contemporary life of its own. This obvious referencing to art history, and somewhat, an approach that is deliberately ‘naive’ incorporates the notions of the ‘imaginative’ within that convention.

Sudarshan Shetty

Nov. 2009, Mumbai




Artist's Note:

R.E.M. (rapid eye movement) is the active part of dreaming sleep and contains dreams we are most likely to remember.

The illogical and bizarre nature of dreams has been a source of inspiration for my current work; a body of work comprising 21 acrylic on canvas paintings. The period of R.E.M. sleep also has the closest affinity to creativity.

My dreams are vivid and brightly coloured. I maintain a dream diary so as to understand the nature of dreams and the reason we all have a biological need to dream. Like art, prophecy and poetry have always been associated with dreams. When the ordinary consciousness is asleep, we reveal forgotten memories and invent new ones. All manner of familiar, unfamiliar and even surreal visions are awakened in the dream-state.   The distortions of time, place, self and gravity are rampant in the state of R.E.M.

The Harvard neuroscientist Allan Hobson says, "Since dreaming is universal, it stands as testimony to the universality of the artistic experience. In our dreams, we all become writers, painters, and filmmakers, combining extraordinary sets of characters, actions, and locations into strangely coherent experiences."
(Altered States, James Hughes)

    -Kahini Arte-Merchant