Project 88 is pleased to present Mahesh Baliga’s fifth solo exhibition, It’s a normal day…
This exhibition examines the sense of normalcy that everyday offers. While each day is seemingly a regular occurrence, Baliga exposes and highlights dissonances that are overlooked or ignored. Viewers are invited to pay attention to details that have been missed from the day-to-day framing of images of importance — of violence, pain, loss, and love. Nothing is being claimed or stated.
Baliga engages with and challenges frameworks that govern visuality in general, as well as the specific images he works with. He states “I had been working with the idea of the normal, dealing with what it takes to be normal? Is normal the adjective of norm? Does it mean conformity with the norm and does normalisation mean to make/make to seem normal? Flexible normality in its varied senses exist in my work, in thinking and making art.”
When singular things or events begin to occur regularly, they are rendered normal. When people overlook strangeness it’s normal. Sometimes things are simply normalised to suit institutions of power. News clippings from the side-lines and margins may enter the frames. Acknowledged as normal, these images can be allotted small spaces within the mediatic space. The normality of everyday gets lost in the articulation of larger discourses of politics.
Personal is not bereft of the political, there is a conflation of private and public life — linear time is interspersed with ruptures; there are conversations surrounding the absent mother, the burnt cycle, the upturned milk van, and the presence of a military tank in a residential area which lives without any caution. The unnoticed everyday responses of an artist to his daily life, moments of introspection, friendships, and conflicts are laid bare for the spectators. He says, “The routine practices of reading unreceived images of violence, alienation, conflict, and desire through the everyday of myself as an artist-person, enters my practice. I ask how political is normal? My reading of the normal becomes important rather than conforming to any particular aesthetic of critique, as I think any critique is a reading. Small incidents puncture the idea of the normal, leaving drifts and leaks in meaning. Sometimes these are immersive moments, completely pitched to the instance of the event, to the incident. I am both near and distant, within and at the edge of the contours; with them certainly and also in the uncertainty of ambivalence. The daily practice of painting is often found redundant in the present context; it is normalised/standardised as something of the commonplace. This is the primary action which I consciously retain.”