Melting Wit | Hong Kong | acrylic on canvas | 167.6 x 290 cm
“Harsha’s works attempt to scrutinize the rich tapestry of the Indian sub-continent with deliberate intelligence and brilliant wit.”
Rajesh Punj, in Flash Art
Part voyeur and part philosopher, N.S. Harsha provides his viewers with a distinct visual commentary incorporating both wit and drama. Drawing upon his understanding of world history and culture, he observes the texture of the land—from the rice paddies and tea plantations prominent in Southern India to the blue waters surrounding the perimeter of the country—and the people therein. He renders it all with precise attention to detail, a technical acumen recalling the centuries’-old tradition of Indian miniature painting.
Harsha’s humans subjects throng, writhe and huddle en masse. They tumble, bleed, entangle and discorporate; they come apart at the seams and disintegrate at the fringes. “Most of my works have a vast visual field within which hundreds of encounters take place simultaneously,” he has said. “At the end, I hope I achieve a sense of abstraction, void and a no-meaning situation, which interests me a lot. It is like visiting a library. I feel a library on its own is an abstract space that collects multiple meanings.
His work has shown in solo exhibitions at the Institute of International Visual Arts in London and at the Maison Hermes, in Tokyo. In group exhibitions, his paintings have appeared at the Asian Art Museum, in San Francisco; the Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris; the Sao Paulo Biennial, in Brazil; the Sharjah Biennial, the Chicago Cultural Center, Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, the Centre of International Modern Art, in New Delhi, and many others. Among his awards and residencies he received the DAAD Residency Award in Berlin, in 2012, and a Visiting Artist residency at the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts, in Paris. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Artes Mundi International Visual Arts prize, in Cardiff, Britain’s largest art prize.
Born in Mysore, India, Harsha earned his M.F.A. at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda. The artist still lives and works in Mysore.