Matters of Hand: Craft, Design and Technique

This exhibition explores how the handmade in India is experienced through objects of utility ranging from recent innovations and artisanal expression to ubiquitous objects found in public and private spaces. Forms of shelter, furniture, floor covering, lighting, kitchen utensils and storage are imbued with story and embody thought processes, perfect-imperfections, function and aesthetic integrity extending from the creators themselves. Matters of Hand: Craft, Design and Technique exemplifies how the traditional is modern craft, both continuously in flux and moving along a continuum that embraces a dynamic past and future, resisting categorisation.

Physical entities are shaped and formed by indigenous matters that draw from the vast Indian landscape: wood, earth, metal, stone plants and fibres. The very essence of these natural materials becomes integral to the physical object: the pliability of wood, the translucency of marble, the various forms of regional clays that imbue pottery distinct colours; the human body becomes the primary tool for thinking through and transforming these materials. Sustainable practices, economic resources and environmental concerns are further explored through the use of recycled materials and objects appropriate for the 21st century and beyond.

Work(s) are birthed from formal working relationships and collaborations between practitioners or by individuals themselves: masters artisans, designers, artisan-craftsmans, artists, skilled workers and the lay person in urban and rural environments. Practitioners commonly share a profound respect for traditional modes of technique and construction, however other works are not constrained by these by methods, and thereby push technique and form to new levels. Others adhere closer to ideas which have persisted throughout time and space demonstrating refinement and individual expression, while some objects are spontaneously crafted given the lack of any resource; all ultimately “craft” and “design” and “technique”.

Photography Credits: Yashesh Virkar