Found Gesture

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Found Gesture, at the Katara Arts Center in Doha, Qatar in 2012, presented a series of my collages, encompassing drawing, stitching and words, with a focus on the body in motion and alternate means of communication.

Full press release below.

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is.
-TS Eliot

Great, imposing bodies twist and turn, the sensual curves of muscles visible where there is nothing but thin air, and intricate webs of dots, balanced like dancers, frozen in time. Collages of drawings, stitching and words create dream-like landscapes, an amalgamation of gestures, malleable and fluid. Indeed, it is in Yvonne Rainer’s The Mind is a Muscle, that the seminal dancer and choreographer describes gesture as a ‘found object’ – something to be taken and made into something else. For Rainer, the very movement a body makes when it picks up such an object can become part of a dance sequence, a moment within a larger flow of events.

For Omani-Indian artist Radhika Khimji, it is this idea of a body in motion that dominates her practice – an exploration of what it might mean to adorn a body in a permanent state of flux. Like Rainer, Khimji seeks to break down the body as we know it, and explore alternate modes of movement. By stripping down movements, moments and cultural motifs, deconstructing, and ultimately rebuilding anew, Khimji externalises a very internal search for a sense of place, creating a universe of stories, experiences and emotions. By distilling movement and form to their essence, she ultimately explores an alternate means to communicate – her human figures have no mouths, no ‘voice’, yet manage to communicate through their gestures, creating a new way to speak: they are not voiceless after all.

In Found Gesture, Khimji presents the last three years of her work, allowing the viewer to witness the transformation and evolution of her oeuvre in its continual exploration of human body and form – whether standing, hovering of squatting, her cut-out figures communicate through economic means. Through sculptural figures, drawings and collages, she seeks to identify gesture as a found object as the body hovers between person and thing, and between places.

text by Anna Wallace-Thompson