Anamorphosis is Praneet Soi's first solo exhibition in London. The Mosaic Rooms commissioned a new body of work from Soi informed by stays in Palestine this year. Anamorphosis also shows work based on the artist’s immersions in the workshop of a master craftsman in Kashmir.
The exhibition begins with Yalla Yasmeen!. This single-channel video expands on Soi’s recent audio-visual installations which implement a cut and paste aesthetic, stitching together moving image, stills and drawings to generate a polyphonic narrative. In seven chapters, the film relates encounters with people Soi met in Palestine.
On Soi’s visits to Palestine he travelled across the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, through the oc- cupied Golan Heights, south to Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus, Jenin and Ramallah and back north to Haifa and Akka. Soi’s aim was to experience the country through facets of its landscapes, and to visit farms, workshops and factories to understand productivity and entrepreneurship in Palestine. This subject has been a focus for Soi in previous exhibitions, such as Third Factory-From Kashmir to Lisbon via Caldas, a solo at the Gulbenkian in Lisbon in 2018. Soi’s interest in the politics of representation relating to Palestine was sparked by an earlier visit when for the 3rd Riwaq Biennale (2009) he joined artists in a UN organised tour of the region.
In Room 2, we see notes, drawings and collages on linen canvas generated in the process of making the vid- eo. They are placed on a large modular structure with interconnected yet separate partitions, hinting at Soi’s experiences in Palestine.
Soi has been engaging with the term anamorphosis as a metaphor for distortions caused by a disturbed political climate. An anamorphic image can only be understood by the viewer from one viewpoint (Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors (1533) where a skull is so distorted as to appear abstract is a well-known example). Soi experiments with such techniques in drawings of landscapes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, pointing to the fact that any representation of this landscape is a political gesture.
The final room shows Soi’s ongoing work with craftsmen in Kashmir and is set in dialogue with the works on Palestine. In August 2019, whilst Soi was working towards this exhibition, the Indian state of Kashmir had its autonomous relationship with India revoked and its statehood terminated. Kashmir has long identified itself with the Palestinian struggle. 1947 marked Indian independence from British rule, and the beginning of Kash- mir’s quest for autonomy. That same year, the UN voted to end the British Mandate in Palestine, leading to an event called Nakba (Catastrophe) by Palestinians, and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. For Soi, it became imperative to include his work with craftsmen in Kashmir in the exhibition.