Edge of desire

Artist note about the show

As an artist I see myself as a witness to my times. I am as much a witness to my times as to the ways it is being re-presented in the media. I am also a witness to the visual culture around me.

I have the habit of collecting interesting photos, image clippings, discarded objects, headlines, quotations and the like. I suppose one can think of me as a visual scavenger. This becomes a bank/source of imagery when I start working. .

In my work, not a single image has been either drawn or painted directly; as if to say I refuse to see first hand. Everything comes filtered through a secondary source resulting in the construction of a secondary reality. Something curious happens in this filtration process.  Media projects objects, people and experiences with a certain ‘tinge’. This ‘tinge’ is carried over to my work because of my scavenging. .

I also have a diary, where I keep jotting down ideas with visuals and text, which becomes a starting point and triggers my work. From that stage it takes off and grows organically. .

The format/experience of my work is akin to watching a TV. Think of a wall of televisions in a store, each tuned to a different channel. Hundreds of images are all talking at the same time, in a hyper-textual visual narrative. The connections do not seem forced, so much as nearly random. .

While scanning through the channels we come across various images, incidents, but by habit we watch each channel in isolation:  advertisement image for a tooth gel as separate from the image of terrorist killings, which one saw a moment ago in a news/ documentary channel. When this flow is seen as a continuous stream of images, associations and the contradictions that arise are mind-blowing. Fiction, news, documentary and reality - all get mixed up.  The violence, blood and gore one saw a moment ago in a Hollywood action movie start shifting over to news channel when you watch daily news. Many of the villains in movies are so well dressed that they could be modeling for clothes.  In between, ad guys entice you to spend, consume and be happy; there is nothing wrong with this world, after all! .

Each day I rummage through   these images from out side world.

September 16 2003

At its core, ‘The Game’ is a relay of missives to the self, articulating the gamble that is self-recognition: To probe deeply into our motives, devices and impulses is a necessary enterprise if we are ever to discern a pattern to our journey through the world; but what is to be done with all the hidden others that we may find within ourselves?

(January-July 2010)


1. For an account of lila, see Richard Lannoy, The Speaking Tree: A Study of Indian Culture and Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), pp. 19, 360-361.

2. For an account of homo ludens, see Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955; rpt. 1971).

3. For the Surrealist approach to the principle of play and the aleatory and quasi-oracular nature of truth as decipherable through the game, see Tristan Tzara’s recipe, ‘To Make A Surrealist Poem’, part VIII of his ‘Dada Manifesto on Feeble Love and Bitter Love’ (1921), in Tristan Tzara, Seven Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries (London & New York: Calder Publications & Riverrun Press, 1992), p. 39. In its entirety, this text goes: “Take a newspaper./ Take some scissors./ Choose from this paper an article of the length you want to make your poem./ Cut out the article./ Next carefully cut out each of the words that makes up this article and put them all in a bag./ Shake gently./ Next take out each cutting one after the other./ Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag./ The poem will resemble you./ And there you are – an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.” If we look past the defence mechanism of self-irony, we see that Tzara’s high-spirited yet profoundly serious appropriation of such divinatory techniques as that of the I Ching is not accidental.

Edge of desire

Ravi Kashi, Works 2003

By RaviKashi