© 2017 by Rajkamal Kahlon
 

Cassell's Illustrated History of India

Cassells Illustrated History of India, c. 1875, involves the hyperbolization of the contents and form of the book, which in its original state consisted of two leather-bound volumes, 1200 pages and 600 illustrations. I purchased the text at a Sothebys auction for $400 with the intention of unbinding the book, stripping it of its then current material value as a cultural object and starting a project that documented my response to the book in the form of drawings and paintings made directly onto its dislocated pages. The book is no longer allowed to serve its original productive function. It now serves itself, in content and form, to my revisions, additions and alterations, which use the motif of the grotesque body and its constituent parts to connect to larger social and political processes. These processes are visualized through the productive and consumptive functions of the body, urination, defecation, lactation, swallowing, eating, drinking. The mouth, the breast, the vagina and the anus constitute the symbolic and literal thresholds or boundaries of the inner and outer, the points of penetration, what is hidden and what is visible.

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