Installation, Sculptural installation
42 x 40 x 40 in.
Anant Joshi graduated from the J. J. School of Art in Mumbai (BFA, 1994; MFA, 1996). He participated in a two-year residency at Rijksakademie in Amsterdam (2002-3), working extensively with ceramic-based installations while there. In 2004 he received the prestigious Prix de Rome scholarship for his work shown at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
A painter and installation artist, Joshi's simultaneously sinister and comical creations reflect a sensitivity to urban alienation and cultural displacement. In his installations, Joshi uses beamed light to project a juxtaposition of strange, sculpted ceramic objects and dissected, dismembered toys onto the wall of an imagined space. In this way, the artist's fictive hybrid man-toy-animals are transformed back into two silhouetted dimensions that simulate a traditional picture plane. Joshi also creates mini-dioramas using packing materials like thermocol, crates and boxes. He throws light off of these staged "backdrops," casting shadows from which ideas for his paintings and drawings often arise. With studio practices and mediated imagery often the initial trigger for concepts and forms, Joshi's painting and drawing practices are symbiotic with his installation projects.
Joshi's recent sculptural-installation work Panopticon comprised stacked, glued toys in various pyramidical and cube-like formations. Upon approaching the boxes, the viewer was surprised by an assaulting flash of light, creating an immediate interaction that referenced the prevalent varieties of surveillance systems webbed into contemporary urban reality. Mirrors enabled multiple, sustained perspectives on the toy formations, through which the installation explored principles of power, reality, and perception, inviting viewers to at once indulge their kind and sinister sides.
Joshi's work interplays spectacle with the dark violence that arises from a mundane acceptance of everyday urban life. With his hybrid creatures, bulbous minaret-like ceramic forms, and the sharp razor-blade screens that appear in his works, the artist continues to lure us seductively into dramatic theatres of public and private protest.