After Martin, Dwelling, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinreucke, 2017
Figures engaged in various forms of sexual encounter populate Vidha Saumya’s tetraptych, ‘After Martin’. As though thrown into an Inferno of the passions or a Hieronymus Bosch-like garden of sensual delights updated for the present, Saumya’s protagonists – who are depicted in all their pulpy fleshiness –pleasure each other, or themselves, or subject themselves to the flagellations of fantasy. We are put in mind of satyrs, nymphs, odalisques and other personae who have, historically, peopled allegories of hedonism. Saumya invites us to explore the allegorical resonances of ‘After Martin’. The open mouths of some of these figures come to stand for the carnal appetites that they all exhibit; and yet, curiously, it is an atmosphere of incarceration rather than of ecstasy that surrounds them. They inhabit a tableau that has, it would strongly seem, been posed under outside direction. Uneasily, we begin to recognise them as captives rather than as celebrants.