Beyond preconceived notions

- September 15, 2022
| By : Jayali Wavhal |

Leaving a clue in each artwork that is featured in this solo exhibition, artist Jahangir Asgar Jani lets the audience infer the meaning while challenging their perception and mindset

In a unique art exhibition titled ‘Pareidolia: Songs of (Dis)belief’ organized by Latitude 28, artist Jahangir Asgar Jani’s watercolour paintings challenge the viewer’s preconceived notions. Curator Aparna Andhare says, “Some things are understood by instinct, and others are learned comprehension. While some symbols are instantly recognisable, do they always mean what you think they mean? Just as all cyphers cannot be cracked with a singular code, Jahangir Asgar Jani’s watercolours are not to be deciphered with a single lens. Perhaps this search for meaning lies in the past, in the depths of memory, or in the folds of time? That is, if one believes in meaning at all.”

The medium of watercolours has allowed Jani to play with light, and create works that seem fluid and ephemeral. The sharp confidence of each line is diffused by the pale translucence of watercolours. 

“The artist has left a series of clues for the viewer, some disjointed, others distracting, and he lets you find your own language to decipher messages. In Pareidolia: Songs of (Dis)belief you have to choose what you see, but with more than just your eyes”, says Andhare.

For Jani, it is evident that the world is constructed with form and words, both of which are malleable on sheets of paper. Just as a master calligrapher privileges aesthetics and symmetry, and relies on the viewer to know where the nukta (diacritic mark) ought to be placed in order to be able to read, Jani trusts the viewer to read his verses.

The artist’s visual vocabulary makes explicit the misalignments and disorientations of religion and sexuality. Jani summons visible markers of identity to evoke various past and present struggles and triumphs; not for any universalizing proclamations, but to speak on his own behalf. In a sense, the artist deconstructs private obsessions and codes of communication that have been developed consciously or subconsciously due to associations with identity. Thus, by using his work as a process of internal inquiry, his works and artistic styles have transgressed the stereotypical and reached beyond the realms of conditioning and notions.