Beyond the Furnace

Srila Mookherjee: A Glass Odyssey

Feb, 2024

Paper Duets

Curated by Ankon Mitra

Aug - Sep, 2022

24 paper artists from India and 8 other countries of the world have come together to form 12 pairs to create 12 collaborative works of art. The idea is for each artist to push their specialized technique to 'clash and synergize' with their partner from another country or place, shaping and forming 'harmony and a symphony - from diversity and difference'. The most important aspect of this project is that we become more closely knit, build empathic inter-personal relationships, forming a stronger paper artist community in spite of our geographical constraints, after the challenges of missed opportunities and isolation during the pandemic.


Each artist pairing is responding to the idea of a duet by addressing two core ideas - (a) the idea of musicality and (b) the concept of language.

A duet is never easy. On their own, each artist of the collaboration is a master of their own techniques, material manipulations and surface articulations. But a coming together of two artists is tentative, a delicate affair - needing poise, balance, a beautiful ballet, a playful cadence. Not done right, it can be fraught, ill-placed, a risky manoeuvre. But when done right, a duet soars, ethereal, a thing of beauty and meaning - multiplied, many times more than the sum of individual techniques of the two artists. This is the first pivotal idea that has driven this global collaboration project. What aspect of musical thinking have the collaborations chosen to pick as themes? A specific musical piece or song? An instrument? A musical metaphor? Structural thinking around melody? Musical notation? There is an ocean of musical ideas that the pairs have dived into, and a number of pearls have been translated from the realm of hearing to the realm of seeing!

Fusing two languages into a single entity is never easy. When two artists are working together to produce a single piece, how are they going to weave into each other's thoughts and techniques - while preserving the distinctiveness and identity of their individual languages in interaction? Just as in an orchestra - where both the violin and the oboe play in a perfect mellifluous euphony, but not for a moment do we fail to discern which is which! This then is the second pivot of the collaboration - the techniques of the two artists merging into a single beautiful composition, without losing their distinctiveness. The languages sing and ring together, a bilingual rhapsody!

A number of paper techniques will be on display in this exhibition - from sculpting to quilling, from watercolour and calligraphy on paper to cutwork/kirigami and from filigree fretwork to layering and weaving.

This is the first international exhibition of paper artists to be held in India and will be supported by the Paper Artist Collective (PAC) headquartered in London, a collective of renowned paper artists from all over the globe and the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA) which is headquartered in Germany with members from 44 countries. A few Indian architects who took part in the Ethos-Acedge Course called 'Art, You Can' over a summer in 2019, taught by the curator of this show are also contributing with their first significant forays in art with spatial and architectonic works befitting architects who are stepping over into the world of art.

The Duets - Artist Teams (In No Particular Order)

(1) Meghana Raghuraj (Bengaluru) X Namitha Hebbal (Bengaluru)

(2) Anaïs Herd-Smith (France) X Michael Velliquette (USA)

(3) Joseph Wu (Canada) X Mark Curtis Hughes (UK)

(4) Vijay YVCS (Mumbai) X Inku Kumar (Delhi)

(5) JV Calanoc (Phillippines) X Stevi Fiona Benson (UK)

(6) Marina Adamova (Russia) X Naomi Kendall (UK)

(7) Margaret Griffith (USA) X Liz Sofield (Australia)

(8) Sara Rayo (USA) X Merav Peleg (Israel)

(9) Mayuresh Shirolkar (Pune) X Janaki Lele (Pune)

(10) Antara Malhotra (Delhi) X Piyusha Patwardhan (Delhi)

(11) Abhishek Dutta (Kolkata) X Naman Shroff (Kolkata)

(12) Pippa Dyrlaga (UK) X Ankon Mitra (Delhi, India)

View the works on Artsy