"You Were a Very Ugly Baby, and You Belong to Me"
Works by Sahana Ramakrishnan
Opening Reception: Friday, May 3rd, 2019 - 6-9pm
On view: May 3rd - June 9th, 2019
Gallery hours: Tues - Sun 12-8pm
You Were a Very Ugly Baby, and You Belong to Me.
Imagine the following moment taken from Milan Kundera’s “Immortality”: An alien man visits to inform you that you have been selected to reincarnate on his planet, on which everyone grows their own face - everyone, so to speak, “thinks himself into being”. The body of work in “You Were a Very Ugly Baby, and You Belong to Me” traverses a world in which bodies and faces have been grown by their inhabitants. These bodies often manifest as humorous, grotesque, absurd and violent mutations from a faintly remembered, earthly life.
One such figure expresses herself as a mask with two mouths so that she can speak two opposite things at the same time and still be speaking the whole truth. Another figure is the head of an early-stage fetus, symbolic of human growth and potential and at the same time undeniably ugly. Much in the same way that myths use fantastical narratives and worlds to metaphorically explore existential and moral issues, Sahana’s works on paper conjure “magic” in order to prioritize spiritual or emotional experience over historical fact or rational thought.
“You Were a Very Ugly Baby, and You Belong to Me” speaks at once to the boundless and strange potential of human-animal expression, and our tether to evolution and the natural world - and doesn't hold these two ideas in opposition to each other. The search is this: where can we find belonging and mutual understanding in a world of chaos and infinite expression?
Sahana Ramakrishnan was born in Mumbai, India and raised in Singapore. She travelled to the United States to complete her BFA in Painting at RISD, and has since been living and working in Brooklyn. Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally, in The Rubin Museum, Wadstrom Tonnheim Gallery, Field Projects, Gateway Project Spaces, 12 Gates Arts, Elizabeth Foundation of the Arts, A.I.R. Gallery, and more. She has participated in residencies and fellowships at Yaddo, Gateway Project Spaces, the Robert Blackburn Workshop, the Yale/Norfolk Summer program, and she has been a recipient of the Florence Lief grant from RISD.