Bangalore-based artist Tara Kelton’s Magic Carpet, made from a roomba robot vacuum, is just one of the surprise encounters inside Galleryske in Delhi. Moving on the ground along the corners of the room, with the image of a carpet on top of it in place of its original form, Kelton says through this work, she aims to examine our growing dependence on technology. “I was exploring the increasing role of screens in our lives, as extensions of our bodies, with its presence in the space around us as portals, and image planes that interrupt and occupy our environment,” she says.
Through a range of works created by Kelton and artist Avinash Veeraraghavan in the last couple of years, the exhibition “Variety” also offers us a glimpse into their individual practice. Kelton’s “Untitled (Title Unknown)” series features works that she found on display in New York City through Google Street View, which she has reproduced in oil paint. A bare-chested boy with a blurred face stares back at the viewer. About the work, she says, “These are reproductions I made of the images I found inside art galleries while I was traveling virtually through Google Street View. The work deals with authorship and appropriation, as Google’s algorithms automatically blur out any faces they ‘see’ in the artworks.”
Death By is another project initiated by Kelton while she was pursuing her Masters in Fine Arts at the Yale School of Art. A small white figure is killed by various forces in each of the 95 prints on display that were created by Kelton over a period of three months. The factors causing death include divorce, stampede and an overdose of pills. A man’s face lies hammered in one frame while a woman lies down with an iPod wire wrapped around her body in another. Kelton adds, “There are more metaphorical and abstract reasons, too, such as disappointment, deletion, electrocution and swallowing.”
Accompanying six of Kelton’s works are five works by Veeraraghavan — comprising digital collages, embroidery and wooden inlay. In a digital print titled Homeland, patches of colourful cloth appear sewn together to form the surface of a tent. A closer look reveals the collage of several tiny digitised images printed on its surface. Sourced from our “everyday encounters”, his works also have images of Madonna with a baby in her lap, birds flying in the sky, and a man squatting with dumb bells in his hands.
“I am using buildings and houses as metaphors for the body. The interiors of the tent refer to our mind. Our body is not an individual entity. It accumulates different things and memories over time, has a heritage and keeps growing collectively,” says the 41-year-old artist from Bangalore.
On a wall facing the gallery’s entrance, scans of over 100 crushed graph papers have been pasted. According to Veeraraghavan, the graph is the “simplest form of reason” where everything is in a grid, to help whoever needs to cut or draw. By crushing the graph papers, the artist hopes to dismantle its rigid structure. A glittery frame titled Hysteria depicts the moon emitting silver rays from its surface. Veeraraghavan says it refers to the solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. “People say that madness is greater during the full-moon days,” he adds.