The Printed Torso Dual Solo – Curated by Sumesh Manoj Sharma

by Lalitha Lajmi and Rose Viggiano

A Torso Printed

Lalitha Lajmi | Rose Viggiano

Dual Solos of the Memory Roll II & Sculptures in Print.

A Torso Printed? Why is there an intrigue since the conception of art of the Torso? Since the first paintings found preserved on the walls of caves we see the depiction of life both human and animal as the first acts of drawing. What is the metaphorical construct in the practice of two printmakers – Lalitha Lajmi and Rose Viggiano? Why do they abstract the spine? Lalitha Lajmi extends a narrative in the form of a scroll that begins with the foetus, the brain and birds of the harbour. She lived many years a street away from the Gateway of India, Bombay. Rose Viggiano lives in Bombay’s twin New York City; these are cities of extreme opportunity and hope as well as strife and loneliness.

Rose Viggiano made masks, videos to celebrate your birthday alone, as an artist she has the courage to speak with much humour those fears that we mask behind our faces, stories and Instagram posts. We are lonely, we might have spent a birthday alone even if there was not a pandemic. Rhetoric and discourse cannot erase emotional states, Lalitha Lajmi in her Memory Rolls, scrolls memories of much happiness, she sheds the masks of her earlier work in printmaking where torsos appeared with masks hiding the inherent sadness of relationships. Her memory rolls are happy in shedding that weight rather their birds allow much freedom of flight. Movement in the three dimensional prints of Rose Viggiano also depict flight, they act like kites about to take off, they are light, structural , graphic with lines that resemble the canopies of Palermo. Perhaps a lingering aesthetic from her Italian American inheritance.

Rose Viggiano like many other printmakers such as Zarina Hashmi , Krishna Reddy and Marino Marino works within the realm of abstracting sculpture or using printmaking as an extension of their sculptural practice. Viggiano extends prints into sculptures where she builds a three-dimensional quality in their presentation. This act is very unique and she does so without destroying their integrity as prints. They provide the lightness of paper planes or of gliders, allowing the same emotional response that Alighiero Boetti’ s Aerei (Airplanes) 1983 at the MOMA, New York , gives when viewed by someone in the audience. They become ‘ A piece of the moon ‘ , ‘Bees, Wing, Owls , Clouds and Walking Sticks’; the titles of her prints. She is a bee-keeper in Upstate New York where she finds them as friends for an alternative therapeutic health practice. She has been for long observing flight and the humour that is inherent with freedom.

She talks about her work, ‘‘My drawings represent my magical thinking about possible places and life forms residing in other dimensions. These creatures and places are afloat and moving through space with some unknown direction and purpose. They reside on the other side of a thin veil, and on rare occasions one may be lucky enough to glimpse them and their environments. My bronzes have landed on earth from an industrial world not so unlike ours. A little menacing, dark and mechanical. Why did they come here? This remains a mystery.”

Lalitha Lajmi moved away from her earlier series during months in lockdown that saw her scribbling on an unending Japanese rice paper scroll. Brought to her many decades ago by a relative who was a flight captain. She could only draw from memory. Unlike the other printmakers her work has always had a strong narrative on personal autobiography, but ‘Memory Roll II ‘is a departure from her earlier work ‘Memory Roll I ‘where birds, a foetus and a brain in a line form a spinal cord of memories that beckon happiness.

Lalitha Lajmi and Rose Viggiano have never met, never collaborated but they provide in this dual presentation a certain needed critique of life in cities such as New York and Bombay, on our methods of healing and how memory serves our life? But also, where anatomy moves within the history of depiction. Since Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘ the Vitruvian Man’ perfection of the body is left to the beauty of one’s presence not defined by the physicality of the human form. Stuck in our homes fearing death our presence was only defined in our imagination allowing us freedoms to fly away.

A Torso is printed.