20 February 2020 04:15 AM



New Readings of Urban Underbellies in Martand Khosla’s Work

Photo essay

“The tangential position of the cities, strange dystopias, some of it is dark fantasy, some of it is disturbing.” – Martand Khosla

Coming from a metropolis, one would, as a viewer, effortlessly succumb to the social reality that defines the contours of cities in Martand Khosla’s meticulous artwork 1:2500 (one is to twenty five hundred). The representation of chaos and the transformative character of cities in his work explicitly factors in the populations, site constructions, developments, geographies and migration that shape the urbanscape.

The artist subverts the idea of cities as static zones, and visualises city planning in a rich-diversified manner that complements its variability. Totally non-palliative in nature, his imagination of the urban world wears a soul sombre yet spontaneous enough to adapt to the realities of the given time.

The city’s various facets like labour, financial forces, land and the law can be seen underpinning the concept of social infrastructure in Khosla’s drawings and carved wood installations. The intricately carved sculptures perceived as motifs will make us wonder if cities can ever quite be “settled”. What does settlement mean for an individual who plays a key role in shaping it, and what does a city look like when all are finally “settled” in it?

Martand Khosla’s exhibition 1:2500 is on display till September 21 at the Nature Morte Art Gallery, Green Park, Delhi.


Doors playing a paramount role in showing transition


Their flexibility anchors the seductions of craftsmanship


Doors as archetype, depicting acceptance, movement, inclusion, exclusion


A cobbled up miniature of city structure


A view of the exhibition showing carved wood sculptures and drawings


The ephemeral character of buildings that lay the foundation for urbanisation


Subjects in pictures depicting webbed and cobbled up spaces


They create a nexus for civil society


Inspired by drawings, a replica of the dark underbelly of urban India


Closeup of one such gloomy cell


Light effect on wood materials experimented in the making


Door and buildings together


Unorganised structures with unsettled, floating foundations


An amplified view of chaos