the North I
Leaves from Ire:
Thoughts about Things,1998
ISLE OF ENIGMA
Mistry's work is synonymous with brilliance, when his Man with Dog and
Walking Man were exhibited at the Fifth Triennale in New Delhi, 1982.
These figures; free-standing, life-size, sky-clad. painted-naked and in
the image of man, share the same floor as the viewer and when encountered,
pose a barefoot-query reaching beyond the public-transit of a gallery.
The result was an unprecedented installation made possible only by his
absolute control' of materials.
In 1981, Dhruva had received the British Council Scholarship for the Royal
College of Art in London. His dexterity of handling mind and medium had
aroused critical interest. William Feaver, the art critic of the Observer
was quick to include his work in As of Now, a survey of contemporary British
art at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool,2 as he had found Dhruva's
sculptures to be extraordinarily impressive.3 Dhruva was carving a niche
for himself and gradually began standing head and shoulder above the others.4
As a non-European artist, he has the rare honour of being elected to the
Royal Academy of Arts, at 34 the youngest since Turner.5 Dhruva's contribution
is unique for the time he has spent abroad from 1981-97 until he decided
to work in Vadodara again,6 and the core of his output reveal that rustic-shaft
of ancient Indian tradition of heterodoxy and questioning.7 In Britain,
his work has left an enviable public presence culminating in the Victoria
Square sculptures, in the heart of Birmingham; the second largest city.
Dhruva is probably the only sculptor who can handle round mass so well,
grand, serene, and truly monumental.' His maverick scepticism contributes
to an ecleticism beyond the reach of fads avoiding comfort of a style
for the clarity of purpose.
is Dhruva's second one-man exhibition since 1981, Mrs Renu Modi's resolute
persuasion to show his work now has made this exhibition a reality. From
the North, an edition of 1 0 folios were made from his share of the prints
editioned by the Glasgow Print Studio in 1988, containing 6 etchings and
2 drypoints. Dhruva's sense of atmosphere is akin to a camera-shy photographer
unfolding a tightrope walker's performance as a master draftsman.Crisp
and crystalline, the prints capture tranquillity of the moment. The human,
the hermit and the overman emerge as characters with the acknowledged
tension.' Thoughts about Things: Leaves from Ire, a set of 26 prints,
was editioned as 7 folios by Anthony Wilkinson Gallery in London in 1998.
In spring 1995, Dhruva visited the coast of Ferriters Cove in Dingle,
southern Ireland, and reacted by exposing certain ideas with his camera
in the land of eternal mists. moss, peaty beaches and teething rocks.
From the edge of the Atlantic emerged the finding of each image. Dhruva's
artist friends, Jim Savage and Sarah O'Flaherty's catalytic support for
the visit has made his findings visible as a revealed journey. Dhruva's
juxtaposition of images with the words of Nietzsche just reaffirm that,"
There would be nothing that could be called knowledge if thought did not
first re-form the world in this way into "Things," into what
is self-identical. Only because there is thought is there untruth.
- Dhruva Mistry,
Sculpture and Drawings, Introduced by William Feaver and essay by Sheena
Wagstaff, Kettle's Yard Gallery, University of Cambridge,1985, p.4
- Peter Moore's
project 7, 1983, a major biannual exhibition, included artists like
Lucien Freud, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews, Gillian Ayers, Muli Tang
(a scholar from Peking at the Royal College of Art), Barry Flanagan,
Bill Woodrow, Kate Blacker and Dhruva Mistry among others. The exhibition
was toured to Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin in 1984 and in 1985, Proud
and Prejudiced, a selection of works was shown at the Twinning Gallery,
New York by the British Council in London.
- Royal College
of Art Rector's Report, 16th Meeting of the Court, London, 1983
- Balraj Khanna
and Aziz Kurtha, Art of Modem India, Thames and Hudson, London, 1998,
- James Delingpole,
Indian is youngest RA since Turner, The Daily Telegraph, June 3, London,
- David Cohen, Hegel
would have approved, The Independent, Section two, October 4, London,
- Amartya Sen, My
Host The World, Q&A, The Times of India, Monday, February 8, 1999,
- Peter De Francia's
letter to the artist, following his visit to Birmingham to view the
Victoria Square Sculptures, June 23, 1993
- Harold Alderman,
Nietzsche's Gift, Ohio University Press, 1986. Mistry's interest in
philosophy, often with reference to Nietzsche among others seems constant
from his student days in Baroda.