Mehlli Gobhai: A legacy of untitled paintings and the ability to show love without using the word
Walking around Don’t Talk to Me About Colour, the Mehlli Gobhai retrospective at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, curated by Ranjit Hoskote and Nancy Adajania and managed efficiently by Chemould Prescott Road, I was assailed by the feeling that I was in a time machine and I was being dragged backwards through my own life and into lives I had not led.
I worry about the title and wonder what Mehlli would have thought of it. He hated titles. I look at the curved vitrine containing some of his books and wonder if he would have responded to it in the way I do, seeing the sensuous curves of the gallery’s dome and rotunda echoed in its curvature – this was Adajania’s idea, I am told – or whether he would have preferred to have a rectangular shape that called no attention to itself.
I wonder what he would have thought of his own retrospective.
He had a strong response to the word itself. I had no responses inside my head to the word “retrospective”. For me, it was something that happened in other cities and one could read about them. For decades of my growing-up-in-art years, we had no gallery in which anyone could...
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