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Mahalakshmi Kannapan

The Crevasse I

signed and dated 'Mahalakshmi Kanappan 2020'
on the reverse

charcoal on wood
103 x 93 cm. (40 1/2 x 36 5/8 in.)
Executed in 2020.


S$2,000 - 3,500

Catalogue Essay

The Crevasse I is part of a series of works by Mahalakshmi Kannappan (b. 1981, India), or
Maha, which art historian Tessa Maria Guazon describes as “comparable to cracks and clefts
on parched earth.” While Maha’s other wall pieces appear like abstracted depictions of the
earth’s terrain from a birds-eye view, instantly evoking distance, the Crevasse series seems to
depict the ground close-up, with fissures expressed in their full detail and tactility. Distance is
then juxtaposed with nearness, connoting a sense of intimacy with a piece of land that, in its
brokenness, evokes only a temporary existence.

Crevasse I possesses a sculptural, rectangular shape and radiates the rich darkness of charcoal.
Its texture is smooth and flat, alluding to a sense of calm and stability. Yet, on the right edge of
the piece, five sharp cuts interrupt the peace and reveal dozens of thin layers beneath the
surface. One is immediately confronted with tension upon realising that the solid shape was
made up of such fragile parts. It is in this tension that the strength of Maha’s works may be
found--rather than resisting the inevitable vulnerability of her material, she embraces it,
perfectly capturing the balancing act between chaos and calm that pervades a life.

As a diasporic individual, Maha has a vast plethora of views and experiences, which is subtly

reflected in her monochromatic works. For many of her works, the material takes centre
stage. Her creations go through many stages of production, and, in this process, she
endeavours to bring out the inherent sublime beauty, serenity and simplicity of these
materials. The unpredictable response of these materials adds to the innate characteristics of
her work.

Maha completed her Diploma in Fine Art at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. Her recent works
were exhibited in SEA Focus 2020, Singapore and she has also participated in various group
shows in Singapore. Her works were also selected to be part of the 3rd Jogja International
Miniprint Biennale (JIMB) held in Yogyakarta.

Courtesy of the Artist and Gajah Gallery


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