Arboretum | 2023


21st January – 26th February 2023

Nature Morte, Dhanmil, New Delhi

An arboretum is a type of botanical garden that focuses on the cultivation of trees, shrubs, and other woody plants. Its purpose is to showcase and promote the study of various trees and plants in a natural outdoor environment. An arboretum is typically open to the publicin a natural outdoor setting, in contrastto a greenhouse that contains a limitedvariety of plants in a climate-controlled indoor environment.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that sent a number of global populations into state-imposed lockdowns, Gurgaon-based artist duo Thukral and Tagra accumulated a photographic archive of trees, leaves, pixels, flowers and skies. Primarily captured through the intimacy of their mobile phones, these pictures over time became visual notes that they exchanged with each other on a daily basis. Away from their home turf of Gurgaon in the Delhi Capital region, they spent time in Goa and Pondicherry and reoriented themselves to the new global condition that everyone was still coming to terms with.

Shifting from a sense of calendrical time that streamlines a day as a cadence of tasks and errands, their perception of everyday life gradually reconfigured with combinations of care, contemplation, and rest. Their vertical and horizontal visions were endlessly staring at the trees and the blue skies, zooming in and out, lying down and staying put in the afternoon sun. It was, for them, a new temporal and spatial entry into nature through long moments of stillness and subtle movement.

The result is an Arboretum, a series of pixels and paintings where a community of trees take over the dream and imaginary compositions the artists are known for. They infuse meticulous realism with glitches
provoking us to see the real as glitch and glitch as the real. Further, the shape of the canvases simulates that of the passing clouds and windows, a recurring element in their artistic language.