Arjun Saluja's chevron of androgyny, his continuing exploration of oneness -the unity of the opposing and the complementary — finds its way to 'Aik'. A journey to a simplistic truth in a complex reality, a minimal space in a maximal cosmos.
In 'No Ground Beneath My feet' (Fall-Win 2012) he explored the multiplicity of the social self and the adoption of opposing traits for survival. Am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen, done, of everything done-to-me. I am the hybrid born of a myriad faces and experiences. An amalgamation of customs and cultures'. (Rushdie)
'Two equals ONE' (Spring-Summer 2013) explored sexuality via the paradoxical or compatible union of the male/female selves. Identity, call it androgyny; yin-yang or 'ardhanareshwar', and mil the beauty within that identity have always played the central theme in Saluja's aesthetic. "Woman and man are words other people use, not me," says Jeet Thayil's Dimple and the protagonist of Saluja's collection "I'm not sure what I am. Some days I'm neither, or I'm nothing. On other days I feel I'm both... I know how they yearn to make two equal one and I know it can never be."
Saluja inquiry into the concept of ONE — the unity of the opposing and complementary, perhaps finds its destination in Seeking that unity which lies hidden beneath veils of multiplicity, this one is a journey of the spirit. Complexity (the exaggerated maximal reality) and simplicity (the serene minimal truth) are regarded as two extremes of one spectrum. One is referred to as unity. One is the first non-zero number as well as the first odd number.
Any number multiplied by one is that number, as one is the identity for multiplication. One is its own factorial, its own square, and its own cube. One is also the empty, as any number multiplied by 011 one is itself. In 'Aik' Saluja's search for One reality leads him to a collection in which multiplicity is explored via the motifs, print, layering and beading but is unified in simplistic, clean even monastic silhouettes. Employing the square and cube as his guides, Arjun's explores a cutting technique that is linear and defined. Wool, georgette, cotton, tweed silks and self plaids play the role of 'shell' fabrics that contain the 'duality' of contrast linings, concealed zippers and buttons.
The print motif and beading take inspiration from the geometry of Azerbaijan rugs, Turkey's kilirns and Gelims - the necessary meager belongings of the eastern mystic who continues his journeys in search of Oneness/nothingness