Kaleka, Ranbir b.1953 / 18 Allegories of the Self
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Kaleka, Ranbir b.1953 / 18 Allegories of the SelfKaleka, Ranbir b.1953 / 18 Allegories of the SelfKaleka, Ranbir b.1953 / 18 Allegories of the SelfKaleka, Ranbir b.1953 / 18 Allegories of the SelfKaleka, Ranbir b.1953 / 18 Allegories of the Self
videos
about this work
18 Allegories of the Self is an exemplary instance of the complex mélange of realities that Kaleka weaves into a narrative that transcends the perceived static boundaries of the physical. A painted image of eighteen candles, recalling a Giorgio Morandi still life, forms the screen onto which a video is projected, melding the two realities of time and space into a third, alternate realm. Speaking of the cross-cultural symbolism of the number eighteen, Kaleka notes its importance in Jewish mysticism where it represents life, in the epic Mahabharata, which has eighteen sections, involves eighteen armies and is about a war fought over eighteen days, and also in Chinese tradition, where it is synonymous with prosperity.

As the video proceeds, the candles appear to be lit in turns and then all together. The soundtrack by Satya Hinduja heightens the lyricism of work, along with the ebb and flow of wave-like patterns of water in which the candles stand. After a short burst of what appears to be rain, the candles are finally extinguished and fade out completely. The intangible quality of the video acts as a powerful catalyst that amplifies the fleeting fragility of the image of the candles, thus accomplishing a metamorphosis of the primary image into a sensory experience that intrigues and beguiles the viewer.

Ranbir Kaleka elaborates on the use and significance of the number eighteen: "The number eighteen appeared right to me. In Jewish mysticism known as Gematria, the number eighteen means life or living. Donations to Jewish charities are routinely made in denominations of eighteen for that reason.  The Hindu epic Mahabharata has eighteen sections, involves eighteen armies and is about a war fought over eighteen days. In Chinese tradition, the number eighteen means that one is going to prosper. Thus, building floors numbered eighteen are often very expensive in China. In Chinese folklore, the Shaolin temple had a group of eighteen bronze monks. Initiates could only be considered full graduates of Shaolin martial arts if they could defeat them in combat. The number of years in the Saros cycle of eclipses of the sun and moon is eighteen. In some countries, the number eighteen means blood (relative). In most countries eighteen is the age of majority. In most countries eighteen is the voting age. In many countries eighteen is the age of sexual consent."(Ranbir Kaleka)

Ranbir Kaleka (b.1953, India)

18 Allegories of the Self, 2011

Oil and acrylic on canvas, video projection with sound and restored cinema chairs
Edition: 1/5 +1AP
81.28 x 144.78 cm.
32 x 57 in.
Provenance:
Volte Gallery, Mumbai, India Current Location:
Germany - Frankfurt S VideoSouth Asia

exhibitions

Ranbir Kaleka: Solo Exhibition
Arario Gallery, Cheonan, South Korea
July 2012 - August 2012

India Art Fair
New Delhi, India
January 2012

Fables
Saffronart, New Delhi, India
December 2011 - January 2012

publications

Kishore Singh, I Do Love Donkeys Very Much
(Journal), 3 February, 2012
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Olina Banerji, Day 4 of India Art Fair: Highlights
(Journal), 29 January, 2012
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Pallavi Pundir, Moving Pictures in a Canvas
(Journal), 21 December, 2012
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Saudamini Jain, Art Comes Alive
(Journal), 25 December, 2011
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Shana Maria Verghis, Ranbir Kaleka's Moving Still Life
(Journal), 16 December, 2011
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Artwork History
  • artist origin
  • provenance
  • current location
  • exhibitions
  • multiple

related works / Ranbir Kaleka / South Asia / Video