The cries, too, fall like rain in summer

“Varunika Saraf’s work takes its title from the closing line of Bertolt Brecht’s poem, ‘When Evil Doing Comes Like Falling Rain’, which speaks of the horrors that a tyranny enacts. Every fresh horror imposes silence: the tyranny mounts, “the blood goes on flowing”. The portrait of an archetypal city, ‘The cries, too, fall like rain in summer’ comprises an ensemble of individually rendered elements: heads; the occasional skull; figures pictured in variegated stances; an array of buildings embodying varied locations and styles. Structurally, it is modelled on representations of the later Mughal imperial hierarchy, with courtiers organised like a solar system in relation to the central, legitimising authority of the emperor. Saraf translates this model for the present: her chart is occupied by flashpoints of political crisis, social atrocity, outrage or demonstration. At the centre, instead of the emperor, is a miniature rendition of Munch’s hallucinatory, still-terrifying painting, ‘The Scream’.”

Ranjit Hoskote, “How to Belong – Dwelling Part One”, Artforum, 2016.