Unravelling the cosmic drama through paintings

Through abstract paintings and installations, artist Shridhar Iyer gives form to Kabir’s poems.

Written by Pallavi Chattopadhyay | New Delhi | Published: May 27, 2014 10:51:35 am
Jatra, Shridhar Iyer’s abstract painting. Jatra, Shridhar Iyer’s abstract painting.

For artist Shridhar Iyer, life is like a jatra, a term borrowed from Bengali that he uses to describe a 24-hour drama unfolding in the universe every second, without any curtains. Referring to it as a “cosmic drama”, he believes every soul is destined to play their role in society. The magic unravelling in the cosmos every second forms the theme of his latest exhibition titled “Spiritual Sojourn” at Art Bull gallery.

Among the 70 works on display, is a rectangular piece of meshed netting spread across the floor of the gallery, made of coir. In this installation titled Confession, coir symbolises a spiritual journey, one that begins when it is collected from a coconut tree, making its way into markets and then temples, and later sacrificed to deities. “I am inspired by the poet Kabir and the way he thinks about life. His message to society through his poems was not to be arrogant and he related everything to god. He asked everyone to be spiritual,” he says.

Confession, an installation made from coir Confession, an installation made from coir

Iyer uses khus in unconventional ways. Khus coats hanging on the wall in his mixed media installation Madhuram, leave the viewer with an urge to touch them and feel the material, just like one would in any garment store. “Khus is often used in coolers. They are easily available and the material and its fragrance is beautiful. Many viewers who saw the show told me that they had rarely seen any artist use this material in making sculptures,” he says, “Artists often use long lasting materials like steel for their installations and sculptures. But I chose to use khus because it is fragile, just like life.”

Iyer’s series of abstract paintings that are an explosion of lights and colours have been titled Jatra. Circular in movement they carry hints of Matisse’s La Danse, where dancing figures hold hands and appear moving in a circle. He says, “It shows the cycle of life in every society. Birth and death are inevitable, be it in the world of insects, human beings or animals. There is one structural quality. But the universe continues.”

The exhibition is on till June 7 at Art Bull gallery, SIS House, Lado Sarai. Contact: 65683083

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