Inner Terrains, a Nidhi Khurana solo exhibition

Inner Terrains, a Nidhi Khurana solo exhibition

Inner Terrains: Mapping Existence

Curatorial Advisor, Lina Vincent

Date: 24th Mar - 10th Apr., 2023

“Maps intrigue us, perhaps none more so than those that ignore mapping conventions. These are maps that find their essence in some other goal than just taking us from point A to point B. They are a vehicle for the imagination, fuelled up and ready to go. We look at these maps, and our minds know just what to do: take the information and extrapolate from it a place where they can leap, play, gambol – without that distant province of our being, the body, dragging them down.” - Katharine Harmon

Much of human life is about navigating spaces, learning, reading, decoding, and generally making sense of a complex world of information and stimulus. The body and mind constantly acclimatise to respond to directions and frameworks, creating habits and languages of comfort. Nidhi Khurana at first adapted the process of mapping into her visual language as a means of working through the personal challenges of negotiating city spaces. Through this primarily cathartic process, the aesthetics of working with print and textiles expanded in newer trajectories, fuelling her experiments with different forms and themes. The maps themselves took on diverse and fictional meanings and became open to interpretations in their partial abstractness. Interwoven within the different series of work produced in the last six years are rhythmic explorations of internal and external topographies; the spaces depicted could be of the vastness of the cosmic universe or at the same time, the cells beneath the palm of her hand. ‘Maps of Future Past’, is a series that reflects this sensibility.

In a sustained way, Khurana has worked with natural dyes, integrating their organic behaviour into her image-making and often utilising the context of cloth as a landscape, or an entire environment in itself. ‘Embedded’ combines the use of naturally dyed silk with paper pulp, revealing tactile surfaces and amorphous forms that symbolically articulate the artist’s engagement with notions of identity and belonging. A large body of work in ‘Inner Terrains’ belongs to a series that has been made collaboratively with two other practitioners, Jaimini Jariwala and Akshata Mokasha. ‘Blueprints: Deep Sea Diving’ is one of the projects that open up into a sequence of meditatively constructed compositions. Here the intuitive juxtaposition of textile fragments against the dyed background generates a sense of dynamism and movement, almost mimicking a living organism moving across space.

Khurana continually absorbs from, and responds to, places she finds herself in. The participative project ‘Bus Map’ (work in progress) began as a means of building interaction with fellow residents at a year-long residency in Germany. The act of imaginarily drawing out the various routes followed by the bus that took them everywhere became a narrative of memory and experience; a marking of presences across space and time, across cultures.

Nidhi Khurana constantly challenges herself to do things she has never attempted, and in this, offers her viewers renewed access to simple and profound configurations that symbiotically map her/our shifting existence.


Nidhi Khurana

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