Chhachhi, Sheba b.1958 / Neelkanth: Poison/Nectar
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about this work
"Poison in the air, the earth, and the water. Poisoned minds, bodies, psyche, societies." 
In the ancient, still popular story, Shiva swallows the flaming mass of poison, which threatened to destroy the universe, keeping it in his throat, becoming the blue-throated one, Neelkanth.
This work relocates the archetypal/mythological figure of Neelkanth, in the contemporary Indian city/ infoscape where each of the five elements (earth, fire, water, air, and ether), the five senses (smell, sight, taste, touch, and hearing), and the power of the word itself is poisoned. An inquiry into the possibility of transformation of toxins, this installation seeks to reflect upon both our fragility and power as human beings at this point of history. And simultaneously act as a reminder of alchemical/philosophic wisdom – that every poison contains the possibility of nectar, that medicine injudiciously used becomes poison.
The work evokes both fragmentation and harmonic pattern. Within this body/city scape, the hi-rise building becomes a unit of geometric precision, garbage dumps are rendered as romantic landscape, the human concentrated to the smallest involuntary bodily movement, marked by waste, by the painful beauty of the endless struggle to ingest.Can the city be a mandala for the generation of knowledge from the mass of information that floods us? Can we, like the archetypal Neelkanth, find means of containment and transformation? Can we make nectar from poison?

Sheba Chhachhi (b.1958, India)

Neelkanth: Poison/Nectar, 2000-2008

240 Aluminium light boxes with photographs, 4 Translite Light boxes
Edition: 2/3 + 1AP
731 x 731 cm.
287 13/16 x 287 13/16 in.
Provenance:
Volte Gallery, Mumbai, India Current Location:
Germany - Frankfurt S InstallationSouth Asia

exhibitions

Evoking the Pause
Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla East, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
October 2011 - December 2011

Concepts & Ideas
CIMA, Kolkata, India
February 2011 - March 2011

Salon Précaire - Delhi
Forum andermusik, Zurich, Switzerland
April 2010

Urban Manners II
SESC Pompeia, Sao Paulo, Brazil
January 2010

Where in the world
Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India
12/01/2008 - 05/01/2009

New Narratives - Contemporary Art from India
Zimmerli Museum, NJ, USA
April 2008 - July 2008

New Narratives - Contemporary Art from India
Salina Museum, Kansas, USA
January 2008 - March 2008

New Narratives - Contemporary Art from India
Chicago Cultural Centre, Chicago, USA
July 2007

My space Your space
Walsh Gallery Chicago, Chicago, USA
January 2006 - February 2006

Neelkanth: Poison/nectar
Townsend Centre, School of Architecture, University of California - Berkley, California, USA
February 2005

Artwork History
  • artist origin
  • provenance
  • current location
  • exhibitions
  • multiple

related works / South Asia / Installation