Anant Joshi invents a circus of the past: forms that populate his work act out stories of political upheaval and social turmoil in the country. He plunges us into this troubled world with the satire of a semi-cartoonist, semi-toymaker, and artist.
Inhabiting multi-coloured interiors and boxed in by the edges of the paper (like TV screens), Joshi’s figures reference found photographs, newspaper clippings, and Satish Acharya’s cartoons. His protagonists appear faceless, ghoul-like creatures, that dissolve into their psychedelic surroundings. If you coat a paper with a slippery, thick egg wash, and pour daubs of paint upon it, the colours will collide and bleed into one another. Yet, a multitude of figures emerge from the washes of paint, where all details reveal themselves.
Accompanying Joshi’s paintings are bronze sculptures created by sand casting. These satirical trophies feature a key behind, recalling his early works of making winding toys and plastic objects. Just as a child would find joy in handling toys, turning them around, or as movable chess pieces, he prefers these objects in the realm of being accessible.
Experimenting with colour pencils, Joshi creates a surface alive with webs, intersected networks, and beams of incredible colour, only to be disrupted by black amoeba-shaped blobs in their very centre; shifting our focus from the primary subject. Tactical distractions, misinformation, and political strategies are natural subjects to him, and come to the fore again in this new body of work. Here a sense of history and longing is seen through the contemporary gaze.