DOWN THE ART LANE WITH 5 ARTISTS

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FWD tries to find out what the world looks like through the eyes of five artists

 

An artwork that invoked an influential experience?

The human life on earth inspires art and expression. Creative individuation and conceptual growth cultivate comprehension of the existence of mankind. Works of art such as ‘Man on the Chair’, ‘Man on Cube’ from the mid 70’s captured the feeling of struggle and strife in plaster. ‘Man with Dog’, a life-size work of 1981 reflects the reformulated concept of sculpture as a form that shares the same space, that of a viewer. This installation presented a kind of self-realisation in the image of man, and was a revelation.

Dhruva Mistry

Dhruva Mistry

What kind of art do you most identify with?

A sculpture by Ramkinker Baij

A-sculpture-by-Ramkinker-Baij

Intentional works of art enliven cultural and visual musings. My visual findings enrich communicative ability and transformative skill of abstract concepts of nature as the soul of  figuration. The history of art presents genius of artists, known or unknown, whose work reveal human comprehension of their environment and life. I identify with figurative art, either representational or abstract as the expression of curious minds and inquisitive souls, revealing life’s beauty . Name three artists you would like to be compared with. To compare myself with artists or another era today may be presumptuous. However, I admire contemporary and painterly findings of poet Rabindranath Tagore, as well as the sculptural curiosity and visual ventures of sculptor and painter Ramkinker Baij. I respect the conceptual beauty and mindfulness of sculptor Krishna Chhatpar, my mentor at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda.

If you had to revisit an art piece, which one would that be?

I think Lord Shiva Nataraja as a conceptual work of art is worth looking into. The diversity of my visual interest and taste for forms, materials, processes and work attract me to look at wide variety of works from the ancient world, old civilisations, and contemporary cultures.

Dhruva Mistry

Which is your most recent artwork?

In 2015, I made a metaphorical set of work titled ‘Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether’ as emptiness or Sunyata in 8mm medium scale laser cut sheets. In Sanskrit, they relate to five aspects of god or absolute truth. Late that year, I made Spatial Diagrams of the six seasons or Vasant (Spring, mid February-mid March), Grishma (Summer, April-June), Varsha (Monsoon, June-August), Sharad (Autumn, August-October), Hemant  (Pre-Winter, October-December) and Shishir (Winter, December- February) in 2mm stainless steel as an anthropomorphic experience.

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Parvathi Nayar

Parvathi Nayar

An artwork that invoked an influential experience?

If you allow me to pick two artworks by the same artist, I would pick Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Café by Night’ and ‘Starry Night’. I saw images of them when I was really young, 13 I think, and remember having a moment of epiphany; of thinking, this person inhabits the world that I do, but he ‘sees’ it so differently. I felt that moment of wonderment at being able to see through another person’s mind and heart and head, a different view of the same world.

Starry-Night-by-Van-Gogh

Starry-Night-by-Van-Gogh

What kind of art do you most identify with?

I identify most with contemporary art, for it is the art of our time that speaks about the times in which we live in.

Name three artists you would like to be compared with.

That’s a tough one. I have always admired artists across different disciplines who have had a specific vision of what they want to say – and have been able to say this through multiple styles/media – like filmmaker Peter Weir. His various films have different subject matters, but a particular ease of storytelling; or musician TM Krishna who articulates with such power. His belief in the music in changing times and landscapes; or writer Vikram Seth, who can equally harness prose and rhyme and images to tell his stories.

If you had to revisit an art piece, which one would that be?

Mick Jagger once said, “I haven’t had the time to plan returning to the scene because I haven’t left it.” I would rephrase that to say that while the works have moved and changed  enormously, and art continues to be an ongoing process of play, experimenting and consolidating, I never want to revisit a particular artwork. However, I do like revisiting ideas and I see myself perhaps wanting to revisit the idea of gender some time from a fresh perspective.

Parvathi Nayar

Which is your most recent artwork?

There are, at any given time, several on-going pieces that I work on, at different stages of completion. So it’s a continuum in that sense, the artist’s equivalent of a stream of consciousness that has freeze-frame moments when particular works unite. One of my recent works I completed is a series on carbon, both as carbon footfall and carbon as an organic source.

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Reena Kallath

Reena Kallath

An artwork that invoked an influential experience?

A work by artists Jeanet Cardiff and George Bures Millerpresented at the Documenta 13 held in Kassel, Germany was a personal highlight in terms of the experience it provided, wherein viewers were given an iPod with headphones and asked to follow a prerecorded audio-video clipping. As one begins to navigate through different spaces that simultaneously play on the iPod, our experience in the present moment is constantly interjected and
overlapped with the past, shifting our perceptions between fiction and truth, myth and reality by the interweaving of some surreal moments.

What kind of art do you most identify with?

A-Rachel-Whiteread-drawing-at

A Rachel Whiteread drawing at the Hammer Museum

While I most closely identify with art that has a strong conceptual core, I find artworks that can transcend beyond the idea, through the ingenuity of approach in their making (whether that might have to do with the process, language, form) usually engage the viewer more successfully, helping experience it both sensually and intellectually.

Name three artists you would like to be compared with.

I don’t like the idea of comparing one artist to another, since each one intrinsically has his or her own unique qualities. Certain works are more accomplished than others and there are certain artists who’ve redefined art giving it a new language. I would hope that my contribution to the field is valued for its nuanced approach and my work is remembered along with artists such as Rachel Whitread, Louise Bourgeoise, and Mona Hatoum, whose work I deeply respect.

If you had to revisit an art piece, which one would that be?

I’m looking forward to the forthcoming Lahore Biennale that will take place in November 2017 with artist Rashid Rana as the curator of the first edition. After the success of the Kochi Biennale and the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh, that have established themselves as seminal platforms for art within South Asia, I think Pakistan can play a vital role by working closely in contributing to the collective richness that the region has to offer.

Reena-Kallat

Which is your most recent artwork?

My last body of work titled ‘Hyphenated Lives’ is a reimagining of fantastical mutations within the natural world, where new hybridised species of birds and animals, trees, and flowers, otherwise fore-grounded as national symbols from countries politically-partitioned and proclaimed by nations as their own get combined, symbolically unifying the nations they represent. I felt the need to turn to a species other than the human race to tell us how to share the planet, where the existence of one species depends on the other, or the disappearance of one affects the other adversely.

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Riyas Komu

Riyas Komu

An artwork that invoked an influential experience?

It’s easy to beat the same drums again and go on about “classic artists” and how we all were inspired by the same familiar names. So, I shall use this space to pay homage to the new, specifically a film called Fandry – an exceptional, debut film written and directed by Nagraj Manjule and released in 2013. I think this is a film that can produce a seminal experience. Fandry is a multidimensional portrait of the caste system at work – in all its inhumane and brutal ways.

What kind of art do you most identify with?

NO by Santiago Sierra

NO by Santiago Sierra

I am most influenced by music and cinema. When I say music, I am not talking about its therapeutic properties, but rather the ones which define a generation, or a culture or the medium itself. I grew up on the music of protest. I am not saying that’s the only thing that influenced me. But it’s amazing to think how a piece of music stays with you and help define a certain worldview or define a character or brings people together. The Malayalee is energised by Bob Marley’s music not just because of his politics but also because somewhere we feel a connect and see him as a “redeemer” through his music. The same is true with classical music in India. It’s not just music – it transcends the medium and creates a common connect for us all.

Name three artists you would like to be compared with.

This could be seen as pure vanity. In the context of art I’d like to think that there is something unique in every artist’s work. So comparison would be superficial. I love writers, storytellers, poets, musicians and everybody who creates art. I love the artists who take risks for their conviction and are politically and aesthetically powerful. So the artists I admire are complex and layered and takes you into many different directions and streams of thought. I am mostly an observer – to their process, art and life. To name a few, I like the practice of Santiago Sierra, the political interventions of Alfredo Jaar and the clarity of Amar Kanwar’s thought process. However,  this is not a comparison.

Which is your most recent artwork?

Riyas Komu

My last work was titled “Get a Dark Cloud Free” and is part of my ongoing Experiments with Gandhi. It was exhibited at the Delhi Art Fair in February this year.

If you had to revisit an art destination, which one would that be?

One place I want to visit again is Barcelona. Not just because of the art, but because it is home to one  of the world’s best football teams, and my personal favourite, Real Madrid; because it offers amazing architectural  asterpieces; because of its outstanding culinary experiences and because it is packed with creative people.

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Sumedh Rajendran

Sumedh-Rajendran

An artwork that invoked an influential experience?

Artworks from the baroque period. It is hard to point out a single work among those treasures. Albert Camu’s “Happy Death” in literature and Andre Tarkovsky’s film “Ivans Childhood” have really invoked great experiences in me.

What kind of art do you most identify with?

A still from Ivan’s Childhood

A still from Ivan’s Childhood

As a sculptor dealing with time and its constant negotiation with the surroundings, I try to understand and identify myself with films and architecture. Both articulate time and space in its own way and brings new meanings and experiences to everyone.

Name three artists you would like to be compared with.

The practice of art to my perception is a process of realisation that cannot be compared or gauged. Each artist tries to bring their own experience and interpretations. And for this same reason, I would not want to be compared with any other artist.

An artwork that has surprised you?

An early eighth-century bronze sculpture of Shiva and Parvathi from the Thanjavur museum. Its enigmatic revelation about the art practice is prodigious.

Sumedh Rajendran

Which is your most recent artwork?

My latest work is “Half Real” which is about things that lose its real meaning of existence and transform into another; those that end up carrying a fabricated memory.

Words by FWD Media      Photographs from Various Sources

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