Forerunner: An Ephemeral Transition

Shradha Ramesh reports on the show FORERUNNER at Chatterjee & Lal

Tandav III, 2012, Sahej Rajal

Tandav III, 2012, Sahej Rajal. Image credit:

New York:  Sahej Rahal’s is prepped up for his second innings at Chatterjee & Lal gallery, Mumbai. We caught up with the artist last year, at the gallery, during his exhibit Bhramana II – a live performance art. It was a characterial confluence of art, history and mythical performance, to Rahal the elements of Bhramana II came together from varied sources. He said “The characters that inhabit these performances bare indices to different cultures, mythologies and pop culture.” While Bhramana I a sequel of Bhramana II, was a momentary performance act, his Tandav III is a photographic representation in a surreal setting.

Bhramana III, 2013, Sahej Rahal

Bhramana III, 2013, Sahej Rahal. Image Credit:

A versatile artist Sahej Rahal converts everything around him into a creative exploration. He is known to intersperse reality with illusion. Having trained under Tejal Shah, Nikhil Chopra, Shumona Goel and Sophie Ernst his works are an amalgamation, of their teachings and techniques ranging from sculpture, video art and performing art. He has collaborated and worked at International forums, both in India and abroad. A short stint at Zurich residential program he created sculptures and installation with reference to war.

The Groom, 2011, Sahej Rahal

The Groom, 2011, Sahej Rahal. Image Credit:

A visual milieu, Sahej Rahal’s artworks are cryptic evolution of various fictional and real time heroes. Being a hard-core Star Wars fan, one is lost in his monastic ‘Jedi’ like forms taking the center stage in his pictorial representation. He was influenced by Joseph Beuys a German, a Happening and performance artist, during his creation of Bhramana series, he said “I was going back to look at the things Beuys was looking at, the idea of the shaman as the storyteller, and looking at the art making process as a kind of alchemy.”

Threading the path of creating a surreal character in a real life urban ambience, Sahej Rahal has a child like euphoric reaction to every object he comes across. To Rahal found objects play a critical role in his creations, a bath tub was an integral part of his video creation as was the didgeridoo instrument in his Bhramana II performance art.  In the two minute film a monk like character has a bath in a mundane bath tub in a surreal ritual. He fascinated by war, rituals, ceremonial processes and myths. He is an artist with full of zeal and gives it all to his art he says “I just pick the coolest things I come across… it’s a lot of fun.”

Sahej Rahal’s current exhibit, Forerunner transpires from these diverse experience and explorations. A series of photography, video documentary and sculptures the show is a visual maze. One gets enamoured by the other worldly creatures and the dynamism.

Forerunner is on display at Chatterjee & Lal gallery, Mumbai until 28 September 2013.

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