Exploring the linguistics, imagery and signification of love through expanded notions of coupledom, ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is an exhibition hosted by Vadehra Art Gallery and conceptualised by Udit Bhambri. It features artists Anju Dodiya, Atul Dodiya, Arpita Singh, Shilpa Gupta, Sunil Gupta, Gieve Patel, N.S. Harsha and Sudhir Patwardhan.
The truth of our times is that any collective identity of ‘we’ is laden with individualities and so in contemporary relationships, we often find we’re living both selfishly and selflessly, acting resilient through constant compromise while balancing self-indulgence with self-sacrifice. Indeed. The process of loving traditionally consists of the self and the other. It is this union, or the lack of it, that drives a plethora of emotions and consequences. The basic human nature is to identity ourselves with something else to complete our sense of self. The need to acknowledge one’s presence through another human being has become so compulsive that many have lost the art of being comfortable with one’s own self.
Bhambri says, “We live in unprecedented times – where social distancing is often more comforting than a hug. Relationships have been redefined by the pandemic, and today more than ever, we witness the true power of self-love, the genuine comfort of companionship, the thrill of reconnecting with an ex-lover and the satisfaction of reigniting our own latent passion. ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is an exploration of love in its many forms. It questions the status quo, and it attempts to erase labels. It accepts love in its multiple facets and in doing so attempts to infuse positivity in a time when a relationship of one kind or another, is our only panacea.”
‘Call Me By Your Name’ asks the question – who completes us? Some shout out togetherness more demonstratively. Others whisper in hushed tones – but what of this shared need to title it, engrave it, qualify it? In spite of our transiency and love’s transfigurations, coupled with a kindred hope to celebrate its imperishability, why do some relationships struggle more with naming and why are so many kinds of relationships still unnamed? The exhibited works probe these difficult questions in their own unique ways.
Anju Dodiya explores the theme through watercolour and charcoal works, one of which is aptly titled, ‘Tree Lover.’ Sudhir Patwardhan’s acrylic on handmade creation, ‘Forest’ gives the impression of urban anxiety and indecisiveness of relationships. His other paintings, using pastel on paper, are called ‘Confession’ and ‘Concern’ respectively and depict a sombre juncture in a couple’s life. ‘At Kala Ghoda Lovers in Summer Time’ by Gieve Patel shows a man resting on the lap of a woman below a tree and captures a classic moment caught by many urban couples in gardens or public parks. Sunil Gupta’s photos documents gay couples in Udaipur and Delhi. Poignant images and thoughtful narratives uplift the exhibition.
The show will run from July 21 to August 13.