In his new exhibition at Victoria Miro, the Indian artist considers the cosmos via monkeys, a sinister skeleton and a vast herd of elephants. By Holly Black
NS Harsha considers the world around him on a universal scale. The Mysore-based artist, who is renowned across India, utilizes seemingly every material at his disposal to explore his ideas. He works on paper and in paint to create his own versions of traditional folk tales, produces vast, meticulously crafted images of celestial planes on canvas and fabric, as well as enormous, site-specific installations that utilize found objects and sculptural forms.
In fact, Harsha’s practice is so broad that you would be mistaken for thinking that there were several different artists exhibiting at Victoria Miro’s Wharf Road location. For example, on first look, the colossal installation that dominates the entrance and extends up into the floor above seems to be its own beast, will little connection to the delicate fabric paintings that surround it.
This massive sculpture features several monkeys sitting astride a large metal frame. They all ominously point upward, as if calling to an impending force descending from the heavens. It is at once compelling (we are all naturally drawn to the wonders of wildlife) but also unsettling, especially as the primates’ tails appear fused together.
Image: NS Harsha, Reclaiming the Inner Space, 2017, installation view, NS Harsha, Victoria Miro, 11 April–18 May 2019