Kaleka, Ranbir b.1953 / Cul-de-Sac in Taxila
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Kaleka, Ranbir b.1953 / Cul-de-Sac in TaxilaKaleka, Ranbir b.1953 / Cul-de-Sac in TaxilaKaleka, Ranbir b.1953 / Cul-de-Sac in Taxila
about this work
Ranbir Kaleka's work is rooted in the Punjab – a region marked by the painful injustices inflicted by the country's 1947 partition into India and Pakistan, which caused millions of people to be uprooted from their homes. In this work, a video projection appears on a canvas painted in a meticulously realist style. The digital medium seems to infuse everyday scenes with life, enriching them with a temporal dimension and movement. The combination of these two mediums creates a multilayered image composed of different representations of reality. The illusion is revealed when the body of the painted figure seems to detach itself from that of the projected figure, becoming a separate entity. The ability to exit and reenter the body, the appearance and subsequent disappearance of a white horse (traditionally used by Punjabi grooms on the day of their wedding ceremony), and the dreamlike atmosphere endow this work with a mystical dimension, giving visual expression to the idea of self-transformation. This stream of imagery calls to mind the Zen-Buddhist term kuon, which refers to a sentence or action whose near-absurdity is designed to promote enlightenment. In this case, it is an inherently Sisyphean action whose repetition embodies its inherent futility, emptying it of meaning. The work's title endows it with a concrete historical and political dimension. Taxila, a town in Pakistan that was once an important Hindu and Buddhist center, is related in the collective Punjabi imagination to the painful losses associated with the country's partition.
(Tel Aviv Museum of Art, June 2012)

Ranbir Kaleka (b.1953, India)

Cul-de-Sac in Taxila, 2010

Video projection on oil & acrylic painting, 3 min 55 sec loop with sound
Edition: 3/3 (unique variation)
70 x 94 cm
27 9/16 x 37 in.
Volte Gallery, Mumbai, India Current Location:
UK - London - G4Si VideoSouth Asia


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June 2012 - December 2012

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New Delhi, India
January 2011

Sweet Unease
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Critical Mass: Contemporary Art from India
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel (Catalogue), 2012

Zehra Jumabhoy, Ranbir Kaleka at Volte Gallery
(Magazine), 2010
View Publication »

Zeenat Nagree, Take One
(Journal), 2010

Nayantara Kilachand, Moving Image
(Magazine), 17 December, 2010
View Publication »

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