Concept Note
September – October 2011
Exhibition: The Keyboards of Small Things at Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore and Chennai, India

Mukesh Sharma’s exhibition titled “The Keyboard of Small Things” takes its cue from “The Infinite Monkey Theorem” which states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William

The metaphoric images of keyboards running through most of the works invite us to question the effect of technology on present human condition. Rather than addressing an overarching theme, each of the works in this exhibition operates as a sort of microcosm. The tiled installation which is
a composite of 2×2 panels can be experienced as one work or individual phantasmagoric images narrating short stories of disillusionment.

A recurring theme in the works is an alluring feminine form sometimes appearing as svelte legs and in some works as a supermodel. The form alludes to human energy pursuing material objects of glitter and fame. Mukesh keeps the drafting of these forms deliberately kitsch-like making them
resemble artworks on match-boxes, bidis, and fire-crackers; all symbolic of rural Indian zeitgeist. Images of cellophane wrapped mobile-phones, luggage trolleys, airplanes talk of rural dreams of some promised mindless material-world.

Coming from Rajasthan, now based in New Delhi Mukesh has been greatly influenced by block printing of Sanganer, Rajasthan Miniatures and wall frescoes which he explored extensively in his earlier works. Inspired by Superflats of Takashi Murakami, the current series of work is an
exploration to describe our brave new world of technology using aesthetics of Indian artistic tradition. The works call attention to a range of readings that can accrue around the idea of continuous influx of technology and material around our lives. Construction workers wade and spade around debris of keyboards trying to dig out material gains of technology that they were promised. The buildings with checkerboard floors slithering up legs, are they symbolic of eternal battle between light and dark or are they reminiscent of some lost cosmic keypads to happiness? The works elicit engagement between symbolism and objecthood and reference polarities between promised and denied in the quest of a better life. Has this collective hammering of keyboards of technology created a new age of fulfillment? Is there a simian brain or a robot or a Nietzsche’s Superman behind them creating our world of today.

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