“Materials carry their own geologies, and in this body of work, the artist goes back in time to bring something forth from that which remains. These processes of transmutation are invisible to us as viewers, but nonetheless suggest that the works of art, and the matter they contain, belong to a continuum. Lying on the ground, they are future memorials to their former selves.” 
Project 88 is pleased to present Aha!, Hemali Bhuta’s fourth solo exhibition at our gallery space. Here, Bhuta deliberately distils her oeuvre, over the past decade, by rethinking three fragile bodies of work: Measure of a foot , Subarnarekha , and and the epic did not happen!  through a singular (and repetitive) inquiry into materiality and meaning; the ways in which she strives to grasp the unreachability of materials, and subsequently, how the same materiality lends itself into an excess, an erosion beyond her control, how it eludes meaning but is also more than meaning itself. In these works, Bhuta unsettles industrial and banal materials – rubber, graphite, stone, wood, coal dust, plaster, and dyes of cochineal, lac, madder root, and indigo – to expose an uncanny resonance within the ordinary. “For even when we are told the constituent elements, we find ourselves struck by the material’s ability to pose itself in another’s stead. It prompts us to acknowledge what that material may have been, what it could become, the permanent possibility there is within each and every single thing for real transformation, and the ‘fixed instability’ of images.” 
Two material channels of laborious research undercurrent this exhibition – the intersecting rivers of Tajna and Subarnarekha. Tajna, a blood red river, contains the artist’s probe into lac, the sticky material often used for protective layers, manufactured at factories in Jharkhand; and Subarnarekha emerges from Bhuta’s research on gold, now known as the black river owing to contamination imposed by mining practices. These materials, lac and gold, retain their intrinsic contradictions; Bhuta does not desire to resolve or mould them into a finished form, as Nida Ghouse writes: “The implications of this simple distinction remain infinitely significant today; to not be driven by the impulse to achieve some sort of [finished] image seems almost inconceivable in the context in which art operates.” 
 Curatorial note by Nida Ghouse, On entering a quarry, 2016.