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Otherwordly Interiors

April 6, 2016 – April 2, 2020

Otherworldly Interiors at Gallery Ark is the first in a series of exhibitions, installations and design projects to focus on Alexander Gorlizki’s work related to domestic spaces.
For over two decades, the British-born artist has centred his practice around Indian miniature paintings, working between Brooklyn, New York and Jaipur’s Old City where he opened an atelier with master miniature painter Riyaz Uddin in 1996. Gorlizki’s main practice in conjunction with Uddin and a small group of assistants has been to insert a varied and often whimsical iconography into the already dream-like environments of miniature paintings. The tradition remains intact as far as the exquisite brushwork and application of the natural pigments, yet the lexicography and cultural references have been expanded to establish playful dialogues between traditions, cultures and histories.
Indian miniature paintings were historically intended to be hand-held, depicting worlds intowhich the viewer could get lost. This sense of intimacy, leisure and wonder was also reflected in the subject matter: calm domestic settings, courtly interiors, couples in gardens. Even where the manuscripts depicted more dramatic mythological subjects or even gruesome battle scenes, the paintings would maintain a sense of serenity with their jewel like delicacy, framing within windows, to be lingered over up close.

For the past decade, Gorlizki has expanded his practice beyond the frame of the painting to the surrounding space designing wallpapers, carpets, fabrics and garments. In each case, while the scale, material and texture enlarge the degree of detail to varying degrees, the patterns, palette and the sense of play, maintain the connection with the paintings on which they are based. Moving fluidly between artistic disciplines, Gorlizki has also developed working relationships with other artisans throughout the Jaipur’s Old City, including embroiderers, sand casters, wood carvers, tinsmiths and sign painters amongst others. His drawings and models of items that relate to home life including utilitarian objects, leisure items, clothing and tools are immaculately reproduced and frequently passed from one workshop to another.
In Otherworldly Interiors the paintings appear to spill out and merge with their environment, so the viewer is both looking into the magnificently detailed worlds while being surrounded by the artefacts they represent.