sepiaEYE is honored to present You always step into the same river, a solo exhibition of new work by Atul Bhalla. Consisting of color photographs and a three-channel video work, the exhibition features the artist’s continuing investigation of our innate yet simultaneously informed connection—our emotional, cultural, physical, and even political ties—with the element of water. Seeking insight into our cultural and spiritual identity in relationship to the rapidly changing environment, Bhalla utilizes photography, sculpture, installation, and performance to examine our shared relationship with water and its inseparable capacity to be both symbol and source of renewal.
Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does. ― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad
Included in the exhibition will be images from Bhalla’s new series Deliverance, centered on the construction of a traditional hand-crafted wooden boat, the series Inundation, 2012-2014, as well as his recent video Adrift (On Dvaipayana), 2014. In the oversize image Deliverance, 2013, the boat is suspended expectantly, mid-point between sky and water as the wooden structure is lowered into the river. Contemplating the craft’s twin definitions as both human concept and as utilitarian object during this nascent moment of realization, Bhalla illuminates not only the shared environmental concerns of a new generation but also our ongoing quest to maintain harmony and equilibrium within the constantly shifting contours of our natural surroundings.
Born in 1964, Atul Bhalla lives and works in New Delhi. He received his M.F.A. from the School of Art, Northern Illinois University and his B.F.A. from the College of Art, Delhi University, New Delhi. Currently professor of Art, Design and Performing Arts, Shiv Nadar University. The artist has held many solo shows, the most recent being ‘On the Edge’ (2011), Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, India ; ‘Water Works’ (2011), curated by Donna Gustafsson, Grossman Gallery, Lafayette College, Easton, PA; ‘Within/Without’ (2008), Aicon Gallery, London; ‘Remarking the River’ (2007-2008), Project 88, Mumbai, India; Anant Art Centre (2007), Noida, India; and ‘Immersions’ (2005), Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi, India. Bhalla has also participated in numerous group exhibitions including ‘Water’ (2010–2011), Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, NJ; ‘A Monumental Tour’ (2010), Coreana Art Museum, Seoul, Korea; ‘Fourth Asian Art Triennale’ (2009), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan; ‘Course’ (2008), Sepia International, New York; ‘City.Cite.Site’ (2007), Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi, India; ‘Relocating Masculinities’ (2007), School of Art and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India; and ‘Wise Man’s Drink’ (2006), Lemon Grasshopper, Ahmedabad, India.
March 6 – May 2, 2015
Atul Bhalla: You always step into the same river
Press Release (PDF)
Opening Reception with the Artist: Thursday, March 5, 6-8 pm
547 West 27th Street, #608, New York, NY 10001
5 March 2015, 2:30-4:30 pm
A Conversation with Atul Bhalla: Art, Environment and the Urban Landscape
With Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Pepe Karmel
Sponsored by SouthAsiaNYU, The Urban Democracy Lab, Art History, NYU
20 Cooper Square, Rm 222
New York, NY 10003