illesha Khandelwal lives and works in between New York and Mumbai. She is currently an Artist in Residence at Flux Factory, a collaborative and community-oriented artist hub in Long Island City. She was a Presidential Scholarship Recipient and graduated with a BFA (Academic and Departmental Honors) in Photography at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston.
Her work suggests a kind of psychology of geography – an unfixed landscape that you alter by your very presence. Is experiencing someone’s memory of a place the same as physically being there? Which is more real? She is interested in the way the absence of a place becomes a presence, and suggesting what this may look like in the multiverse. At a time of global uncertainty, a flood of heartache: she fabricates a phenomenological world, constantly in flux. The work urges you to surrender your senses to the unknowable, build an intimacy with distant places, and develop a tangible relationship with the photograph.
there is a certain consciousness, a momentous and fragmented state of being, which the landscape rouses. this awareness is concentrated in intensely sensuous junctures. it allows an unprecedented, and highly personal engagement with the individual life- world. at times it seeps so far into our fissures that we fracture. this breakage uncovers naïve strata below, and so the process continues.
Fabric, paper, clay and text float in an installations of threads. She fabricates a world of fictional objects and memories, entangled with the factual, blurring the separations between what is experienced and what is imagined. The objects are built like thoughts in their fluidity and fickleness. The materials breathe, they move, and your very presence changes them.
You will be pulled into a murky remembrance; perhaps some dusty flashback of a lover long gone, or a lingering dream of your bare feet sunk in sand. You have entered a world where rock is soft, and vulnerability is strength. The land is abraded, it reforms. The slow fragmentation, the heartbreak, it is the same. We fall apart, we come together.
Most recently, illesha Khandelwal had a solo show in New York City at the Flux Factory gallery in Long Island City. Her handmade artist books have been exhibited from the Burren College of Art in Ireland, to the first Boston Art Book Fair and Odds and Ends: Yale Art Book Fair. Her photographic series on silk organza, “12 Days of Dreaming” was showcased at The Salon – an exhibition highlighting a dynamic range of contemporary female artists, in partnership with The Peabody Essex Museum and hosted at Sweet Rickey, a female-helmed film production studio in Boston. Her work has been continually exhibited at several galleries at her alma mater, MassArt, where she has had a solo show and participated in various group shows. She was included in the annual MassArt Auction ‘17, and curated the Annual Photography All School Show ‘17.