Astronomically Small was an apt title for Rahul Kumar’s exhibition of miniature pot sculptures at Art Heritage Gallery, New Delhi, from the 2nd of March to the 3rd of April. These minuscule works made us wonder if a pot could be more than just a pot..
Near the entrance of the gallery, three very small cadmium-red glazed pots placed in an unglazed terracotta niche appeared like votive offerings. Many such miniature works filled the gallery – placed on walls or on raised, uneven ceramic pedestals. Collectively, they evoked the poetry of Omar Khayyam.
One of the works featured an indigo vase, just over an inch high, on the edge of a scroll-like strip of white textured porcelain marked with occasional black swirls. In a similar vein, a small white teapot, merely two inches high, stood on the edge of a flat patch of terracotta with a wave-like form at its far end.
To make his delicate pots, Kumar’s doesn’t throw clay on a wheel but moulds each sculpture by hand. The scale of the works commands close examination and inspires contemplation.
In the show, Kumar also displayed sets of larger tiles mounted on grid frames. These works seemed to have no relationship with the ‘Astronomically Small’ theme. This slight confusion detracted from the power and beauty of the exquisitely small pots.