Prem Sahib

10 Apr – 31 May 2014

Jhaveri Contemporary is pleased to present Tongues, a solo exhibition by British artist Prem Sahib. The exhibition opens on Thursday 10 April and remains on view through Saturday 17 May 2014.

Prem Sahib's sculptures and painting appear abstract and minimal, formally clean and precise. However each is begat from convictions regarding, sexuality, intimacy, desire, and community. Dealing with notions of encounter and presence, Tongues continues Sahib’s interest in the evocation of emotion from cleanly economical but often suggestive or personified arrangements, discrete sculptures that are also set up to be in dialogue with one another.

Sahib’s first solo presentation in India takes as its starting point an anatomic and rhetorical form. Seen poking through the cheek of one of the artist’s friends in a portrait, its presence is duplicated in a similarly suggestive tone throughout the works in the show. Tongues puts forth the idea of communication in the absence of language, as well a more physical intermingling – one that is channeled through an avowed ambition for the works to be ‘talking to themselves’.

With an emphasis on what appears to be formal relationships of sameness, Sahib’s work pointedly offers more promiscuous interpretations and deviations of meaning. Insider, a work comprising of two intersecting steel disks, speaks of union as well as individual capacity through its partly mirrored surface.

Drawing on a continued interest in environments such as the bathroom or nightclub, Sahib alludes towards gendered spaces in which the body is enacted upon. For Tongues, this is honed specifically through macro and micro views that create shifts in scale, bringing into question the body of the viewer. The pierced white surface of Your Shine uses adornments such as fake diamond earrings to interrupt and personify the enlarged tiles as though they were skin.

A similar tension can be found in the sculpture Only With Your Light On, a structural form modeled on a piece of furniture in a Berlin nightclub. Here the object mediates two views – that of an object being looked at, but also an implied site to look from. Despite denying any real use through its flimsy and precarious state, it addresses the viewer with a command that makes itself synonymous with a body. Candles perch softly as adornments on its metal framework, presenting the need to be tended to or activated.

Prem Sahib was born in London in 1982 to an Indian father and a Polish mother. He graduated from the Slade School of Art in 2006 and the Royal Academy Schools in 2013. Sahib has been known to exhibit his work in domestic spaces, inviting viewers to seek it out from amongst everyday objects. Recent solo exhibitions include Night Flies, Southard Reid, London and Back Chat, Lorcan O'Neill Gallery, Rome, 2013. Group exhibitions include Shape of Thought, The Breeder, Monaco; Abstract Cabinet, David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Days In Lieu, David Zwirner, London, 2013. Forthcoming performance work presented as part of Forget Amnesia, The Fiorucci Art Trust, Stromboli. 

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