Tejal Patni – Slicing the world (chitra) to provide a glance-Vichitra 

Door, you willingly open- you slide into a mirrored world-where all your conditioned experiences do not guide you,  you realise you are struggling to decipher your experiences … .mocking you, making you feel dizzy but leading you to an insight. You feel like using the Hindi/ Marathi  word ‘Vichitra’ 

It is an experience, like a tale from a movie !!

The visual reaches to you from social media, email  or you get a call, the voice on the other side, is of your known person and it insists that the show called ‘Vichitra’ is a must visit. 

The next thing you are doing is seeing the visual, in a dark space which is lit by a top light, a masked creature ( human-like – tall, thin ) with a quirky smile is standing in front of a tall red wall, made of red fabric. The wall is full of very large human eyes, with their focus in different directions. Their gaze meandering our space and reflecting the varied emotions mirrored in their shining pupils. The size of this curtained wall makes you feel as if you are standing at the facade of a castle, with a gate which is a triangular, black void like an opening to enter into. The number of eyes makes the wall , a living wall of eyes. 

Above the gate, one giant human eye looming behind the humanlike creature in the centre. The size of the eye suggests to us that the ‘giant’ is a deity of a land where all the beings are just eyes and all the smaller eyes are like the councillors accompanying the deity, gazing at the viewer. Making you feel nervous, as you feel being observed, being watched at the main gate of this Vichitra land.  

Dark space, devoid of sunlight/daylight removes all the support we naturally use, a kind of blindfold you accept.

Suddenly you realise that you are standing on a meandering pathway within a city like space. While being stranded on the pathway, you are wondering why the pathway of a maze or a video game and this space are similar but as you linger on this thought the dim light and smoke attract you to move towards them.

Where light from shops, small houses like spaces/boxes are helping you to navigate further. As urban creatures we engage with the light in the darkness and get entangled, remaining stranded in front of the box like showcases.  

As we are glued to the showcase- box- house spaces , one realises there is no glass barrier. There is no difference between real and fantasy. We are part of the same space where human-like beings wearing very colourful, unusual prints, coloured hair are mimicking our actions. Watching TV- getting bored, speaking on the phone, waiting for the washing machine to complete the task, shopping, playing indoor games, getting bored & and in between showcasing our evolutionary identity ( animal )

Human-like beings are not statues, they move over the period of time , like astronauts, slowly pulling us to wait and be curious to witness what happens next. 

But they are eroding our ability to witness. Slowly we are intimidated as this world is making us feel completely out of place. The similitude of the actions of human-like beings keeps providing the thread of some context of our human world and though we know we are in a snare, we are happy to move ahead.

The exhibited world also uses our sense of curiosity, where we are allowed to see through a peephole of the shape of a keyhole. If the door is knocked upon then a bizarre creature answers the door, and from behind another creature enters the room and the door is shut upon our face, making us even more curious what’s ‘inside’. It masterfully brings our curiosity towards sleep, death, old age in a context which one is altered as one bends down and peeps through the spaces in between products on the shelf of a store. In the same way the blind person with the shades and the walking sick with the bicycle bell engages with you.. As if he is ‘watching’ the space as well as you. 

As one is moving from one space to the other, sometimes one creature walks across or along with you and creates goosebumps. 

Tejal Patni is a master of photography, video and vocabulary of the bizarre, unknown and unusual, crafts this immersive experience with the meticulousness of a craftsman. Bizarre is always with the reference of ‘known’ it uses the bits and pieces of the dismantled reality and creates the bizarre brick by brick.

Marathi writer G. A. Kulkarni, Franz Kafka, Georgio de Chirico , Magritte, Dali and other surrealists & Christopher Nolan  have provided the glimpses of the subconscious which presents the views of the world, which is fractured as the values and the ideals and brought down by the corruptions of the mind. Tejal Patni is providing a contemporary dimension to the idiom. The curiosity lingers … .asking the question with a whiff of an excitement, what’s next?

Mahendra Damle

Writer /Artist/Educationist 2024

Tejal Patni Unveils ‘Vichitra’, Offering a Bizarre Exploration of Human Experience at Snowball Studios

Mumbai, 20th February 2024:  Renowned artist Tejal Patni is set to astonish audiences with the debut of ‘Vichitra,’ which promises to transport attendees into a realm where the ordinary transforms into the extraordinary, and the bizarre becomes beautiful.Snowball Studios presents “Vichitra”, from March 9th to 12th, 2024, an immersive exhibition set to redefine conventional artistic experiences.

Drawing inspiration from the Hindi word ‘Vichitra,’ which translates to ‘bizarre,’ Patni invites viewers to journey beyond the surface, delving into the hidden truths that unfold when the lights dim, and the world turns inward. In an era dominated by curated narratives and constant connectivity, ‘Vichitra’ is a rebellion against the norm, exposing the peculiarities we often guard so fiercely.

Derived from Patni’s encounter with an unfinished building in Delhi, ‘Vichitra’ unveils the tales of diverse individuals converging in a shared space, transcending physical boundaries. Through evocative visuals and live performances, the exhibition transforms into a testament to the universality of human experience, prompting introspection on vulnerability, connectivity, and the unspoken bonds that bind us all.

The exhibition breaks down the barriers of traditional art showcases by presenting a fully immersive experience. Multiple exposed rooms showcase live actors immersed in imaginative and fantastical narratives, inviting audiences to act as witnesses in the unfolding surreal scenes. Spectators are not confined to passive observation but are seamlessly engaged as integral co-creators of the experience, blurring the lines between imagination and reality.

Tejal Patni, an Indian-born artist, is an industry visionary, showcasing his commitment to his craft and a neo-whimsical style. His distinctive talent for seamlessly merging intricate details with imaginative storytelling has garnered praise from peers and art enthusiasts. He has collaborated with international fashion houses, magazines, and icons, earning acclaim in Adobe Photoshop’s global film and as Emirates Airlines’ brand ambassador.

‘Vichitra’ is more than just an art exhibition; it’s an interactive exploration of the human psyche, offering a glimpse into the hidden corners of our souls.

Don’t miss the limited run of “Vichitra” and the immersive strange world of Tejal Patni at Snowball Studios in Mumbai from March 9-12, 2024.

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