Ushnish’s critical engagement with death and the dead-body takes the form of non-linear narratives, recording the various attitudes towards understanding the discourse of death and its location in the history of human civilization. The dead-body for Ushnish is not only a material presence of death, but becomes a locative space of mourning, as well as an empty signifier that disturbingly and eerily holds the ultimate meaning of life.
The matrix of citation works as a strong undercurrent, as Ushnish refers to the archives of art-history, literature, philosophy, critical theories and films, striving to excavate cultural perceptions of death across the world. The archival repertoire of the performance of death, enables his practice, stemming from a very personal experience, to reach a universal domain. It is in this experiential atmosphere of discrepancy between painful suffocation and lyrical liberation, between physical absence and metaphysical presence that the viewer is left to recreate their own narratives, taking cue from their own lived experiences. On display here—the drawings, the archival prints, and the sculptural installation with electric circuits, explore the dark, violent and morbid perceptions of the phenomenon of death as well as its imaginative possibilities.
Agony of sleep
Ushnish Mukhopadhyay (b. 1994, West Bengal) did his Masters in Visual Art Painting from Faculty of Fine Arts, M. S. University, Vadodara, Gujarat, India (2019) and Bachelors in Visual Art Painting from Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata, West Bengal, India (2016). Ushnish lives and works between Kolkata (West Bengal) and Vadodara (Gujarat). Ushnish has participated in several group shows across the country like “Embark III”, Gallery ARK, Baroda in 2020, 51st – 50th and 53rd Annual Exhibition of Birla Academy of Art & Culture in 2017-2018 and 2020, Kolkata, Pune Biennale Youth Expression 2017, etc. His works have also been selected for the 6th Graphic Art Biennial of Szeklerland 2020, ’Borderless Lockdown”- One Minute Video Art, Online Exhibition 2020, Curated by Sophia Moffa & Ashim Halder Sagor and Artpro International Video Art Festival at National Art Gallery, Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2019). He has received Sarala-Basant Kumar Birla Award (2020), Nasreen Mohamedi Scholarship (2019) and a Scholarship to Young Artists in Different Cultural Fields (Visual Art, Painting, Year 2016-2017) given by Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.