Mukesh Sharma /India


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Orthography of a Recondite Past

A show of graphic prints by Mukesh Sharma

My work evolves from childhood memories, dreams and fairy tales. During my childhood, art and nature were my passions. My memories from those days inspire my printed imagery, which in turn form the blueprints for both my paintings and spatial installations. My first love was drawing and painting and summarily printmaking too has become part of my life for all its versatility and tradition.

We work out our understanding of the world through both experiences and dreams. The original purpose of these fairy tales from my childhood was to provide enjoyment but also to teach children social codes and values. I have returned to these tales repeatedly to replace their imagery and characters with my own interpretations, translating them through references from my own memories and life. I enjoy the original duality to these tales - to use dream-like fairy tale and circus-like references to things going on in my actual life currently, as a means to adjust and adapt.

The bulk of my work is in printmaking now and consists primarily of intaglio; viscosity, etching or linocuts. I treat my prints similar to how I work in my sketchbooks. With intaglio I do all the line work, texture and pattern, by etching, aquatinting and sometimes mixed with other printmaking technique to make a single print. Constantly innovating and experimenting, I see the plate as a sculpted surface, and intaglio printing as a three-dimensional process. I create a philosophy for working the image by varying ink viscosity and roller density, I have achieved colours of extraordinary complexity on the plates I've worked on and inked. My practice of the principle of colour viscosity has greatly simplified technical processes, while at the same time, increasing the expressiveness and intensity of the image demonstrates the intimate connection of the artist with his materials.

My Linocuts are printed with layers of decorative paper chine coll'e below the solid printed block giving it subtle difference in pattern and texture. Each of my prints represents a journey through time from a humble village of Rajasthan to the urban bustle of Delhi and is filled with emotive and tangible memories. I feel my prints inspire me to push the boundaries between artist disciplines and mediums. I try to explore the chromatic potential of paint. The experiment often ranges from rendering of the colours to that of delving into the metaphorical aspect of colour, which can be traced to both the Western and Indian traditions of painting. In the contemporary art practice colour had often been reduced to an aesthetic quality, which undermines the narration, but I try to subvert and have thus chosen to paint with profuse colours to question the lopsided emphasis of a certain kind of practice. The recent works are in super flat technique in which I had experimented on and probed into the varied application of the medium beyond the traditional methods and attempts to contemporize it with other mediums. 

Mukesh Sharma



Mukesh Sharma (b.1974, Rajasthan, India) is a full-time visual art practitioner based in New Delhi; he holds an MFA in Printmaking from MS University, Baroda (1998) and a BFA in Painting from Rajasthan School of Art, Jaipur (1996).

On graduating in Baroda he continued his printmaking journey at the graphics studio, Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur, and pursued his art practice where his works displayed the intersection of painting, printmaking and large scale sculpture installation, often exploring as subject the complex dynamics of human - environment relationship, bringing forth the visual riches and intensity of his desert state.

Sharma's work has been recognized in his native India and beyond. His selected solo shows/projects includes On-site collaboration with Amannath of Neemarana'sTijra Fort-Palace on a bespoke suite called "Mukesh Mahal" (2017); "A Terabyte-ing Serpentine" a Site-specific project in New Delhi (2013); "The Keyboards of Small Things" Gallery Sumukha Bangalore (2011); "Another Geography curated by Dr.AlkaPande at VAG, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi (2007); "World Without Boundaries" Galleria Corona, Mexico (2006); "(Re)visions" touring exhibition at the Long Gallery, curated by Judy Bourke University of Wollongong, New South Wales and at the Bay Press, Portland Arts Centre (CEMA), Victoria, Australia.

His recent multiple group exhibitions/participations includes at the India Art Fair, New Delhi; Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore; Venice Architecture Biennale - Venice Italy; RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, Australia; Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre; Edition Art Fair, Bussan, South Korea; Bonjour India festival Indo-French festival Le Musee Du Louvre, Paris; Gallery 27, London; Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial, Tama Art University Museum, Tokyo, Japan; International Mini-Print Triennial EX-LIBRIS, Canada and has also participated in many residency programs within India and abroad such as the '5th Print Symposium' National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; 'Monotype' Print workshop with children of American School Bombay as part of the exhibition 'works@work' Qualcomm, Mumbai; 'Viscosity & Serigraphy workshop with members/printmakers of Warringah Printmakers Studio in Sydney and CEMA Art Centre, Portland, Victoria, Australia among others.

Sharma has received many awards, grants and fellowship from various bodies and institutions of standing and also participated in many residency programs within India and abroad

His work has been written about in The Wall Street Journal, Economics Times, India Today, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, The Hindu, Deccan Herald, Mint, Time Out Delhi, The Australian, The Observer, Art India Magazine, and Art Etc. News And Views, Bay Vallarta - Riviera Nayarit Mexico, Moralmoda Magazine Geneva, CH. among others.

Sharma's work is held in public and private collections worldwide including The National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), RMIT University Museum, Swiss Re, Qualcomm to name a few.