A Shoulder on Which to Bear Time
A conversation between Biraaj Dodiya and Elena Sorokina on Manolo Millares
Thursday, July 30, 2020, via Zoom
In collaboration with Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata India
Dodiya and Sorokina build interconnections between Manolo Millares’ work and its ‘duende’, inviting it into their exchanges. They discuss what it means to speak about Millares (1926-1972) today, specifically during these times. How can we look at the work of this major 20th-century artist through the eyes of an artist from a younger generation and a curator both of whom necessarily approach Millares’ practice from different geographies, different generations, and yet share his urgent concerns today: themes of loss and memory, mortality and repair, the deep uncertainties of life, and how mourning and care have the power to heal after crisis and violence.
Both speakers in this conversation are connected to Millares in disparate ways. Biraaj Dodiya, based in Mumbai, is interested in how one negotiates with loss through her paintings and constructed sculptures. Often taking the form of a lament, her work alludes to funereal abstractions and nocturnal landscapes but also to ramps and beams used as aids for supporting or resisting loads. Inspired by Federico García Lorca’s concept of ‘duende’, Dodiya’s recent exhibition draws on his quote: “Stone is a forehead where dreams grieve, without curving waters and frozen cypresses. Stone is a shoulder on which to bear Time, with trees formed of tears and ribbons and planets.”
Elena Sorokina co-curated the exhibition of Manolo Millares at Galeria Mayoral in 2017, looking at his work from a decolonial, intersectional perspective. The exhibition attempted to unlock western linear thinking and certitudes with regard to Millares’ oeuvre and his ideas on subjectivity, materiality, body and violence, and the meaning of history. Millares performed ancient gestures of repair on his canvases, located at the crossroads of art, philosophy and care, many of which are traditionally associated with feminine activities. Restorative and transformative at once, his reparations resonate as lamentations.