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Behind the Canvas

An exhibition in the Capital offers a glimpse into the working style and thought process of five artists

Written by Pallavi Chattopadhyay |
December 23, 2013 1:51:10 am

A wall at the Exhibit 320 gallery is adorned with old archival photographs ranging from an Indian Maharaja’s portrait to a sepia toned picture of a woman working on a sewing machine. In these images,that comprise self-taught artist Nandan Ghiya’s installation titled,Times Square on My Mind,the artist attempts to symbolise a reality he has observed. They are part of a project-cum-exhibition on display at the gallery,titled “Artchiving; an artist’s perspective”,aimed at creating an archive of artist’s practices and their beliefs.

The accompanying text with the Maharaja’s portrait reads: “AC/DC is not for me”. AC/ DC is an Australian rock band and “reveals the disconnect many Indians have with western music”. The text accompanying the picture of the woman in the sari reads: “Work at home,mom makes $7,397 a month” and is a reference to the numerous pop ups that appear on malicious websites. A pre-recorded video interview playing alongside his work describes the concept of the installation. “Times Square,with its billboards and stores,stands as a metaphor for the dreams of thousands of Indians who think that going to America and settling there is a big achievement,” he says.

The video goes on to reveal his obsession with text and the visual it offers. “Whenever I am in my studio,I feel I am having a breaktime. It makes you love your job,” he can be heard saying. Most of his images have faces blurred out. His video explains why. “It is a critique on digital technology and how there is a loss of identity nowadays,” he says.

Conceptualised by curator Ranjita Chaney Menezes,the exhibition draws attention to the work of five artists. “Perceiving finished works on display from every artist,interviews about their practice and thesis on their work style,is not abundant. So we are revisiting the basic question everybody is keen to have an answer to – ‘How is it done’,what’s the artist thinking when creating or working on a piece and many more,” says Menezes.

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Another installation by artist Sunoj D from Bangalore titled Somewhere Between This Side And That Side comprises laterite stones decorated with broken pieces of tinted glass on both sides. A video shows the 34-year-old artist working with the materials in his studio. “I have an old technique to stick the glass pieces. I made use of sand,lime,jaggery and water,which were used for constructing buildings in the old days. I wanted to make it as organic and non-chemical as possible.” The 34-year-old artist further says,“My grandfather was a rice farmer and would force me to go with him to the farm every morning. That helped me in my practise. He taught me how to observe everything in the farm and that helped me as an artist since it is important to explore the surrounding.”

The exhibition is on display till January 18 at Exhibit 320,Lado Sarai. Contact: 46130637

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First published on: 23-12-2013 at 01:51:10 am

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