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Artist Profile2
Vibha Galhotra’s images inspired by the metropolitan life and landscape
Vibha Galhotra’s art is largely about ‘recoding’. It involves recoding at several levels, between the artist and the work. The process leads to decoding of a thought into a representation; between the work and the material, wherein form is recoded to subtle sensory perception and texture, and of the ‘said or conveyed’ to the aesthete who sees the work, translating the whole process of recoding syntax from the conception to the formation.

The cityscape often serves as an inspiration for the artist. Time, space and consciousness weave a tale about the ‘global city’ through Vibha Galhotra’s art. The ever expanding city, the gigantic construction cranes and the bewildering building material form the new landscape for the inhabitants. The permanent presence of the eerie sound of material being perpetually hauled in and the sound of the drill serve as the wakeup calls every morning. The art questions whether all of it is voluntarily chosen by us or is thrust upon us.

Though Vibha Galhotra specializes in graphics, her work explores a wide range of mediums, which demonstrates her versatility. She delves in painting, animation videos, site-specific installations and sculpting. In graphic work, she often transfers her ideas into bronze sculptural forms. On the other hand, her paintings consist of condensed narratives, where she might be projected as the protagonist. An emblematic female figure constantly appears in her works.

Born in New Delhi, in 1978, she did her B.F.A. (Graphics) from Government College of Arts, Chandigarh (1999), and M.F.A. (Graphics) from Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharti, Santiniketan (2001). Among the scholarships and awards, the promising artist has won are Inlaks Foundation Fine Arts Award (2003-05); National scholarship from HRD Dept., Government of India (2001, 02); ‘Artist under 30 Year Award’, Chandigarh State LKA Award (1998). Her select solo shows include ‘Space within the Space’, Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi (2007); ‘Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?’, Anant art gallery, Delhi (2006); ‘Between me and Delhi’, Anant art (2005); ‘White’, Fine Arts Faculty, MS University, Baroda (2004).

Among her selected participations are ‘Urban Simlies :Transforming Cities’, Gallery Project 88, Mumbai (2007); ‘Destination Asia: Non-strict correspondence – artists from Central Asia and South Asia’ organized by Soros Cente for contemporary art, Kazakhstan, (2007); ‘Bronze’, Gallery Espace, Delhi (2006); ‘Shadow Lines’, Vadehra gallery, Delhi (2006); ‘Eternal Recurrence’, Hotel Shangrila, Delhi (2005); ‘Team Unteamed’, Art Konsult, Delhi (2005); ‘Unclaimed Luggage’ Cyprus (2005); ‘The Chair project’, Sarjan art gallery, Vadodara (2005); ‘The Twilight Zone of Digital Divide’, West-end, Delhi (2004); group show in Lional Went Art Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka (2003); ‘GUTGASTEIL’, Austria (2002), Saga Art College, Japan (2000-01), and a group show in Austria (2000). She recently participated in ‘Everywhere is War (and rumors of war)’, a show curated by Shaheen Merali at Bodhi Art.

The artist’s work is in collections like Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, Italy; Gut Gasteil, an open air Museum in Austria; Saga Art College, Japan; Europas parkas, Lithuania, and in many other private collections. She was invited by Fordsburg Artist Studio, South Africa (2005), and has worked with eminent printmakers involving the Indian Printmakers Guild, Delhi (1998-99). Her work was a part of Best of Discovery, ShContemporary 2008, Shanghai.

Project 88 recently hosted her new suite of works entitled ‘Metropia’. It included paintings, sculpture, installations and photographs. The dynamics of her work drew from her earlier series ‘Between Me and Delhi’ (2005) and ‘Where do we come from…?’ (2006). In other words, it marked her journey as a ‘migrant’ to a ‘citizen’ of Delhi, grappling with larger environmental and humanitarian issues of the city, in the process.

Elaborating on her work, a curatorial note mentioned: “Working consciously to remove overtly personal or emotional aspects from her work, she explores the city as a teeming, pulsating, festering mass of people and concrete structures. ‘Master Plan- 2021’ conceptualized for the city heralds the chaos the massive reworking has already brought about in its wake, by large-scale construction, demolition and rebuilding. Ordinary people’s lives are thus literally being nailed, as the artist shows through the use of nails in the work itself.”

Vibha Galhotra further explores the day-to-day experiences in a metropolitan city, as she points to the hassles citizens face thanks to the unending government projects. Her work questions the depletion and degradation of natural resources such massive refurbishing will inevitably entail.

The city is projected as an entity whose evolution, growth and transformation stand for not only the physical manifestation of the global (identity), but also the mindset of the new, dynamic generation that is remodeling the cityscape to create an altered definition for life. Her art practice conveys her genuine personal and sociopolitical concerns.