More information on In the Light Of exhibition at Gallery Ark , Vadodara. (Feb-May 2021)
Masonry steps ascend clockwise and traditional staircases move anti-clockwise, Teja’s suite of steps in this exhibition ‘ascend’ in not either direction. Teja is interested in ‘the step’ as an architectural form but also doubly interested in dismantling this form, which has come to represent linear progression and ‘growth’ through time and space. And so we have what could be an intensely torqued flight of stairs, or a winners podium that has been supremely scrambled to undo the numbers game, and other such similarly defiant Untitled entities.
In the materiality of weathering (Corten) steel, Teja finds an on point accomplice for the pursuit of her interest. Weathering steel pre-empts nature’s rusting process, and through a layer of stable rust protects it from further corrosion. On the implications of such a process Teja says, “It is interesting to be able to begin with and maintain the material's rusted form and also accept the ‘natural’ behaviour of the material in relation to the environment.”
Teja’s father was a goldsmith, and die maker. During the course of a bout of lockdown cleaning, Teja went through his entire collection of ‘dies’ and decided on using them as a reference. “The brass cast steps in particular look like dies because of the black oxidisation they have undergone,” she adds.
MC Escher of impossible stairs and other mind boggling structures, was another point of reference. Escher visited Alhambra Palace, Spain in 1922 and 1936. Islamic geometry and architecture found in the Iberian peninsula entered his work in particular through the art of tessellation of which there is plenty at Alhambra, and instances of which can also be found in Mughal monuments in India including the Fatehpur Sikri. A tessellation is created when a shape is repeated over and over again covering an entire plane without any gaps or overlaps.
Text by Gitanjali Dang (curator – In The Light Of at Gallery Ark.