Thirteen artists from across the world, who have used this medium to express their views on history, identity, migration and memory, are in the city to exhibit the works.
The exhibition, which was inaugurated in Lalit Kala Akademi on Friday morning, contains the works of artists such as Marna Brauner, Shormii Chowdhury, Sudipta Das, Christiane Grauert, Ravikumar Kashi, InKyung Kwon, Aimee Lee, Jessica M Ganger, Nirmal Raja, Song Soo Ryun, Lim Soo Sik, Julie VonDerVellen and Rina Yoon. The show focuses on the versatility of hanji as a medium for art and examines the concepts relating to transcultural communication, history, identity, migration and memory.
While most of these artists purchase readymade paper for their works, Ravikumar Kashi from India makes hanji from scratch. “I have been trained in paper-making from Glasgow School of Art. I have all the facilities and equipment in my studio to make paper from materials like cotton, banana, grass, onion skin, cacti, bagasse and more. I learnt to make hanji from my teacher Seong Woo in a place called Jang ji Bang, Korea,” he says.
From these creators, we learn that just like every medium requires different kinds of art supplies, there are specific tools for hanji-based art. Take American artist Julie VonDerVellen, for instance — she tells us, “My process includes abstract mark-making with acrylic paint, watercolour and graphite pencils. I’ve been overly impressed with how the paper absorbs the paint. The results are soft and they showcase the fluidity of the media. I am easily able to develop a rich, soft pastel palette, which is emphasised by the natural fibers of hanji.” Ravi agrees with her. “I like the tactile nature and malleable quality of this freshly made paper. I use it as part of my bigger installations too,” he says.
The adaptability of this medium is such that some artists even digitally print photographs onto hanji paper — Lim Soo Sik from Korea and Marna Brauner from the United States specialise in this. “I started using hanji in 2002; I was first a photographer and wanted to experiment with new techniques, which is why I started printing on top of this paper,” shares the former. Marna says, “I also use a sewing machine to stitch the pieces of hanji together. I enjoy the seeming fragility of the paper, which is actually very strong and durable. I usually work with fabric so I treat the hanji as if it is a fabric.”
When asked what her piece displayed at the exhibition signifies, Nirmal Raj replies, “I am exhibiting an installation that speaks about the interconnectivity of humans as a global population. It is a comment on how we are linked and co-dependent. I wish to disregard political and geographical boundaries through this work — so, the title of the work is ‘Blurred Boundaries’.” To observe the other exhibits at the venue, visit before January 20, between 11 am and 7 pm.