Brooklyn-based British artist, Alexander Gorlizki opened his show Otherworldly Interiors at Gallery Ark (Vadodara) on 8 February, 2020, with a full house that included some of the leading names in the Indian art world such as Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, Vasudev Akkitham, Rekha Rodwittiya and Jyoti and Jyotsna Bhatt. The opening was accompanied by Professor Naman P. Ahuja’s talk Modernism’s Muse: The Indian Presence in European Art 1880-1930, as a part of the K.G. Subrahmanyam Memorial Lecture, powered by Gallery Ark.

The elaborately curated exhibition weaves together traditional Indian miniature painting with product and textile design to create an immersive experience of a whimsical world of stories and allegory, as imagined by the artist. This is the second time Alexander Gorlizki is exhibiting at the gallery, having first exhibited at Ark in 2018, in a group show Luminously Between Eternities, curated by Udaipur-based American artist Waswo X. Waswo.

Otherworldly Interiors is the product of a lively cross-cultural conversation, seamlessly moving between traditional Indian aesthetics and contemporary, international design. Gorlizki’s rich artistic practice - which is on full display in this show - finds its voice between his studio in Brooklyn, New York and the atelier he has developed in Jaipur with traditional miniature artist and collaborator Riyaz Uddin, who has worked with for over 25 years. The mixed-media paintings, sculptures and textiles blend traditional miniaturist techniques with tongue-in-cheek symbolism. The gallery space is transformed into a parallel universe, inviting the viewer to join the artist in his vibrant imagining of alternate possibilities.

Having grown up travelling through India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Alexander Gorlizki was introduced to the textile and crafts traditions from the region early on. Miniature paintings in particular caught his interest, which he further explored in his practice as an artist. Gorlizki met Riyaz Uddin in 1996 and the two artists have been collaborating since, developing a deep creative bond that has resulted in a prolific practice.

Gorlizki brings his unique, whimsical take on the intricate, dream-like worlds of Indian miniatures. The series of paintings, textiles and sculptural objects combine the surreal and the mundane. Traditional element remains intact in the execution of meticulous brushwork and motifs, thereby maintaining the allure of jewel-like miniatures, but carry a contemporary twist in terms of the cultural references that have been expanded to establish playful dialogues between traditions, cultures and histories. The artworks in the show allude to the aspirational and theatrical aspect of our relationship to spaces and objects, whilst also presenting a vision for intimate and fantastical dream spaces.