Showcasing Art As History

New Delhi-based installation artist, Farhat Jamshed, is also known as one of South Asia’s most visceral experimental artists, who has spent over twenty years pushing the boundaries of wood, metal, clay and paint, through her installations, furniture and paintings

Farhat Jamshed had recently showcased her work, The End of History, in New Delhi. This exhibition came after an extended period of contemplation, during which she perfected working with wood in its natural form, and it came in response to the artistic demands of an age in flux. The exhibition was formally inaugurated by renowned filmmaker, Muzaffar Ali, and exponent of Indian classical dance, Padma Vibhushan, Sonal Mansingh. Hon’ble Minister of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhu and Minister of State for Communications, Shri Manoj Sinha honoured the exhibition at the India Habitat Centre with their visit.

The End of History brought together a selection of Farhat’s work in abstract, wood and metal, in three dimensional dialogue with architecture, history, visual design and nature. Strolling through her new series, one experiences a fascinating conflict of intent – between making the natural contours of the wood speak unsullied for themselves, and turning them into art that tells a story. Her work signifies the experimental aesthetic that is shaping India’s bourgeoning post-modern art scene. But with over two decades of work in her repertoire, Farhat is not a product of this zeitgeist, but has been one of its shapers. The highlight of the exhibition was a 16 ft long raw city scape.

Jamshed uses wood in its most natural state, often unpolished, uprooted, and uncut, in conjunction with muted colour, debris and metal to create mixed-medium pieces that invite the audience to think of interior space as more than walls.

“I am inspired by the medium”, Jamshed informs, referring to the Constructivist tradition in art and philosophy she is moulding for the 21st century, “the world has always been a natural medium for stories –rings in tree trunks and layers in rock stand witness to the rise and fall of thousands of years of civilisations. Every piece of wood I work with is bursting with a story.”

Over the last twenty years, Farhat has created hundreds of art works, inspired by the zeitgeist and her travels across Asia and Europe, and follows in the traditions of Constructivism and new movements in installation and immersive experiments in modern art.

“Installation art, to me, is more like architecture than painting. Painting is documentation. Installations, like buildings, are monuments to our ideas, conflicts and achievements, as a society. It is not the documentation of history, but history itself,” Jamshed explains.

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