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Audio cassette player, audio cassette by Vandalorum

Photo: Hendrik Zeitler

Installation view

Photo: Hendrik Zeitler

Installation view

Photo: Hendrik Zeitler

Installation view

Photo: Hendrik Zeitler

India ink on paper, 76cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink, graphite on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink, graphite on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink, graphite on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink, graphite on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink, graphite on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink, graphite on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink on paper, 76cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink on paper, 76cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink, graphite on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink, graphite on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Indian ink, graphite on paper, 38cm x 56cm

Photo: Patrick Jameson

Colouring In: A Coming Of Beige Story (Colorblind Edition), 2021

Borås Art Biennial, Borås, Sweden

 

Blurb

Hardeep Pandhal presents an urban fantasy across writing, drawing and sound, which tells the story of a brown man on a collective quest to see a black metal gig. The quest culminates in a battle between his party and a group of racist black metal fans, climaxing with ‘tentative stomps to the head’ of the central character. The real-life incident upon which this fantasy is based catalysed many things for the artist:

‘I believe the incident fuelled an obsessive wave of recurring ciphers in my work, such as cartoon Sepoys (British-Indian colonial soldiers) referencing the post 9/11 cases of mistaken identity of Sikhs and Arabs in the US, as well as Doctor Marten boots; an erotically charged anti-fascist iconography.’ Hardeep Pandhal 2021.

Adopting the textual format of a typical role-playing adventure, the artist wrote a short, skeletal origin story to a life-comic that will be periodically written and illustrated during the remainder of his life. This story does not appear in the exhibition in text form. Instead, the artist presents 15 hand-drawn monochromatic illustrations accompanied with music from a limited-edition cassette tape made by the Dungeon Synth composer Vandalorum, whose music the artist describes as a ‘synthetic yet sympathetic’ refraction of the story and its themes of transformative headlessness, imaginative play and collective world-building.

The illustrations reference a poem called Purity by 15th Century Indian mystic Kabir, whose work is considered to be influenced by both Islamic and Hindu traditions of thought, whilst also depicting architectural features from an area of Glasgow called Merchant City, which appears on the artist’s walking route to his studio. The artist shares the significance behind the two phrases ‘I have some urgent colouring in to do’ and ‘I have some urgent shading to do’, which appear in one of the drawings:

‘I walk through this area (Merchant City) to get to my studio and have been paying more attention than usual to the highly ornate structures at the tops of these buildings. At a recent advisory board meeting conducted via Zoom, still dazed from staring at the peaks of Merchant City, I decided to continue working on my drawings whilst being ‘in’ the meeting.  At the start of the meeting I declared to my co-advisers that I had some urgent colouring in and shading to do. The phrase stuck with me all day that day, as I felt it also fittingly described my role at the meetings.’ Hardeep Pandhal 2021

This exhibition testifies to the artists ongoing research around fantasies of race, difference and darkness and their influence on polices of oppression, where fiction and reality converge.

The artist works predominantly with drawing and voice to transform feelings of disinheritance and disaffection into generative spaces that bolster interdependence and self-belief. Applying practices of associative thinking, his research-led projects exhibit syncretic strains of post-brown weirdness. Across media, his works are imbued with acerbity and playful complexity; at once confrontational and reflective.