March 22, 2021–April 30, 2021

Hortus Arcanus

March 22, 2021–April 30, 2021 | 1x1 Art Gallery

Mehra Agarwal scrutinises, dissects, and deconstructs surfaces searching for hidden meaning

Starts March 22, 2021

Ends April 30, 2021

Venue 1x1 Art Gallery

Warehouse 10


Simrin Mehra Agarwal presents a new body of extremely detailed, large-scale drawings that create immersive environments. Her research focuses on concepts of nature, its growth and regeneration and the artificial. In ‘Hortus Arcanus’ (‘Secret Garden’ in Latin), Simrin investigates the liminal state in nature, which is the time in limbo between destruction and rebirth when creation takes place in the utmost secrecy. Botanical forms take over man-made structures through mysterious processes, transforming inanimate objects into living organic forms pulsating with life and forming interesting hybrids. Simrin looks into the processes of growth, maturity, decay and dissipation within which occur complex structures, patterns and fractals.

The artist draws her inspiration from her childhood in the politically charged, densely forested district of Jhargram in West Bengal, eastern India. It is an environment with a multitude of rare vegetal species neighboring an old and uncanny Second World War air base anchoring abandoned machinery.

Using drawing, carving and relief on paper, wood and plaster, Simrin creates very detailed forms and complex compositions where she meticulously scrutinizes, dissects and de-constructs every detail and looks deeper into various layers and surfaces for hidden meaning and links.

The project is supported by the scholarship / financial grant towards research and production by the Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi and the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi. The works were created during the six-month long Cultural Foundation Art Residency, 2020.

A section of Cavernous-I, 2021, Graphite, charcoal, ink, primer, plaster, gypsum powder, stucco, acrylic, gesso, glue, sand, fibre-glass & paper on wooden panels by Simrin Mehra Agarwal. Photo courtesy 1x1 Gallery and the artist