“codes of a future, traces of the ancient”

An exhibition of paintings by Anni Kumari

22 April - 23 June, 2022

We all carry with us imprints of the past, guiding our every sense and pre-empting our future pathways. The very basis of nature, everything around us and within us, is made up of these imprints presenting themselves as shapes, spaces, structures and fundamentally – patterns. Recognition and repetition is essential to the human way of making sense of the world and expressing it in our unique interpretation. In order to survive, functionality has always been deeply ingrained in all aspects of life, especially aesthetics. Anni Kumari embodies this unique balance by being both a native of methodological scientific temperament and a practitioner of fluid creativity to express her inner self and thoughts.

On the surface her works seem simple, minimal, almost decorative. Today we take that to usually mean non-complex and hence by default non-intellectual or lacking in depth. However, one of the most ancient and primal tendencies in humans is to seek basic order, rhythm and beauty. It is seen in all the areas of the arts, like dance, music, poetry, design and architecture, thereby proving that searching for simplicity in visual pleasure is our evolutionary heritage. Anni de-clutters these over-intellectualized ideas and goes back to that original minimalism that is coded within us. Ironically, despite this relatable exterior, the works are built on nuanced modules and grids from Mathematics using concepts like the Fibonacci Series, Fractal Geometry and prime number sequencing. Mathematics is a universal theme applicable to all fields of life from Geography to Biology and Cosmology. Hence this multi-layered alignment of form and intention presents Anni’s works in an awe-inspiringly synchronized manner. When asked about this mastery she humbly pays homage to one of her major sources of inspiration: Indian traditional art and temple architecture. Alignment was ingrained in every area of ancient Indian culture with our temples emulating the primordial shapes of the circle and square and calculated precision being used in even the simplest of things like the Rangoli design pattern of Kolam in Tamil Nadu or the monochrome geometry in the Khovar folk art of Jharkhand. These cultural synergies were rooted in ideas of growth and consciousness, with these spaces and practices being energy centers for people. Interestingly, this basic mathematical foundation is still incredibly relevant even today in our modern lives with prime numbers and such being used actively in computing and creating unique codes for digital algorithms.

It is therefore an interconnectedness that brings together past and future, real and metaphysical, material and spiritual, and most importantly, experiential. The works are dynamic in motion and continually evolving under the gaze of the viewer. The pattern is reminiscent of something that we have seen before in many forms, from the imprint of our thumbs to the shapes of river deltas, the points on spatial maps to the constellation of the stars. This allows for a multi-reading of it that Anni wants her audience to instinctively and intuitively engage in.

Much like life, the dualities, the subtleties and the synchronicities in her art are easily connected with but also deeply aspirational.

– Sanjana Shah