Man behind the Stambh: Arsenal Ashiesh Shah

Tanya Chaturvedi | March 4, 2024 | Life

“I know what I do best, I infused my language within the crafts, to bring that sense of minimalism within it, bring the sense of luxury within it, while keeping the crafts at the forefront.”

Seemingly similar sensibilities of protracting the ethos of blurring boundaries between alternate lines of practice brings Svasa Life and Ashiesh Shah together. An exclusive with the designer- artist will navigate the peaks, the pivots, the power of underappreciation and the curatorial practices surrounding Ashiesh’s vision at the Atelier.

“Art is inherent, and comes from a very different place but brackets are man-made.”

Neoteric methodical alignment, that is, the creative in spotlight– Shah’s personal identification is well governed by reality, which is, the art world. Mindful of the man-made concepts and revolution, Shah’s potent grip on the bracketless nature of art and finding value in challenging set rules has driven the Atelier’s identity.

Popular for charting ingeniously from the Japanese concept of impermanence, wabi-sabi, Ashiesh Shah gets vocal about the personification of the concept in the likes of Mark Rothko, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Raza. Echoing thoughts of ‘less is more’, what Ashiesh believes staples his creation is when the ability to strip it down further takes away from the conformity of the product or space. These decisions are governed by the unique format of Shah’s practice driven by its editorial and curatorial nature, adding a dimension of intrigue to the process.

Presentations from OTLO — a caravan of concepts by Ashiesh Shah

“I think crafts was a big milestone, a decade ago when I started wanting to change how the world looked at Indian Crafts, and I think that was the pivot for me and my practice.’’

Oscillating within the defining values of design language and self-development, in each piece crafted under Ashiesh, traces of the atelier is statement and with an apathetic essence he has had to constantly re-innovate, this methodology then goes on to inspiring canvas for many. In a balanced world, Ashiesh’s ever-evolving patrons fit into the mould of an individual who is well-travelled, well-read, and rooted in philosophy. Painting visions to vibrancy, Shah spotlights the bud of the dream where crafts form part of organic wealth and make their way into modern-urban homes, while crediting the individualistic demeanour of the practice, achieved by giving the craft form its due credit.

“Someone who believes in practice, not the product.”

The boom that is underappreciation – a rarity of creators equip themselves to reflect and grow, Shah’s methodology has stood as a testament to evolving many folds, while staying true to the manifest and a self-created ethos. On taking challenges head on, Shah has found an under-laying procedure where the process of building a strong identity, and scope of category creations of an audience group also better defines the evoluting practice.

New Moon and Longpi totem; Nakshatra Rug

Carefully treading identity, and responsibility of community representation that comes with it, the Atelier has found itself rigorously collaborating with formidable co-ops in the roots of India and international gallerists, globally. Alternately, as an inward approach at the Atelier, decisions to collaborate with a craft are only enabled, once the value addition quotient by the artist-designer can be justified.

Reflecting, Shah shared his innate willingness to collaborate with Vidri, but the decisions of likes are withheld until positive augmentation can be achieved, rounded in research spanning over half a decade. ‘India within India’, describes Shah, when explaining about the role India and its heritage play in his inspirational portfolio – ranging in cosmic architecture to worshipping stone mono-forms, and the interplay of interactive foreign cultures, all carefully chartered to make educated choices. Expanding on the realities of working with craft-focused learning through the ateliers’ journey can be summed in two words: patience and limitations.

Ashiesh Shah, the Stumbh Man of India, spells out the concoction of the multilayered practice that comes to life at the atelier, ground in self-identity, building and charting mission statements and learning traditions with due respect, and reflection while understanding, respecting and prioritising time in reality, in an exclusive with Svasa Life.

Words by Tanya Chaturvedi.
Image courtesy Ashiesh Shah.

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