Vadehra Art Gallery participates in the Features section of Art Basel, with a collection of canvases, drawings and sculptures by Pritzker Prize-winning architect and artist Balkrishna Doshi, in a curated presentation titled Labyrinth of Dreams.
An urbanist, academician and illustrious architect, Balkrishna Doshi is among the few pioneers of modern architecture in India and is regarded as a national treasure in the field. Doshi has orchestrated innumerable projects across scales and significance, developing an early commitment to sustainability and the relationship between space and culture, honouring a sense of the local even while channelling Western inspirations and outlooks. He has consequently created a hybrid visual language strongly embedded in place, earning him countless prestigious awards over his career and enabling him to make instrumental contributions to architectural discourse worldwide.
However, for the illustrious Balkrishna Doshi, before there was architecture, there was art. While enrolled at an art school in India, an observant painting teacher encouraged Doshi to study architecture, but even as his prowess grew publicly, in skill, passion and magnitude, Doshi never abandoned drawing and painting as wholesome forms of self-expression. Over the last decade, Doshi has embraced a fine arts practice that translates into a myriad of expressions, from saturated paintings and spontaneous drawings to surrealist sculptures.
This recent body of work begins from recognizable impressions of his earlier miniature drawings and blur into both colourful and colourless planes and fragmented forms. Their dream-like composition is drawn from his innermost experiences over the years, especially his childhood, where the geometries create visual illusions and the surrealist underpinnings appear more concerned with containment and play than the conveyance of meaning. These works invoke a gamut of moods, seasons and spatial movements through the means of volumes, texture, colour and proportion, while the overlays of fragments, the play of opacity and transparency and the moving lines reflect his deep-rooted urbanist temperament.
Doshi’s artworks edge towards biographical explorations, encrusted with remnants of memories as an artistic memoir of his life. About these instincts Doshi says, ‘For me there are many stories dispersed on the canvas yet connected – they are my unique mind maps of memories. I try to create multiple relationships out of these fragments to navigate narratives between heterogeneous homogeneity.’