Friday, 29 May 2015

Residency Program - SITE art space & The Collective Studio Baroda

Ankush Safaya
artist in residence
4th December 2014 to 10th January 2015
SITE art space & The Collective Studio Baroda
in Vadodara

Measured Metres

Measured Metres

Indrapramit Roy &  Mayur Kailash Gupta
Presented from 9th to 28th January 2015
as a SITE art space & The Collective Studio Baroda collaboration

An artist’s studio is an intimate space, set apart from the intrusions of an outside world. It is a retreat where books come to life, blank papers get covered with drawings and scribbles, and hidden secrets reveal themselves from the subconscious in ways least expected. From within this cocooned space, the artist journeys into areas outside of the ordinary, and at other times brings magic into the most mundane of observations. It is a place where curiosities are rampant, leading to experiments with different mediums and materials, and where methodologies are re-examined to produce altered perceptions. The studio becomes a place of necessary hibernation, where artists let free their inhibitions and find ways by which to develop ideas away from public censure.

Measured Metres puts together two artists who are tenured university teachers, and who as a result have only a limited window of time each day within which to engage with their own art practice. What this tight time frame then produces for them is an urgent insistence to create their art, obsessively and incessantly, making a prolific stream of ideation flow through their studios at all times. 

Mayur Gupta’s sculptures, where nature intertwines with a sense of the nurtured brought to life, are tree forms and fertility goddesses that evoke a sense of the primordial. Whittled from the wood with the practiced ease of a seductive libidinal lover, the sculptures in his studio confront you with a raw energy. These sculptures lie strewn all over his studio; some next to found objects, whilst others are kept perched upon antique furniture along with personal memorabilia scattered all about the space, making it an Aladdin’s cave of hidden treasures. Overflowing with objects and palpable ideas, his studio bears testimony to the passion with which materials are transformed to become embodied with new meanings.

Indrapramit Roy’s cityscapes appear utopian in their quiet uninhabited isolation, seemingly far removed from the violence that tomorrow may bring to them. These dwellings beckon one to find one’s space of belonging in their remoteness, to imprint them with more palpable energies of human existence within the confines of their internal labyrinth. These floating cities, excavated from desires and dreams, allow you to bring your own histories to their blueprints and to perhaps conjure a future of otherness.

The personas of these artists are found embedded in the skin of their work. Each lays bare their findings from life lived and explored, and each creates their own personal poetics from these harvested experiences. They give to us, therefore, something precious of their heart to hold in mutual discourse; where hope conjures the primitive energies of the celebration of survival, and nurtures the will to obliterate despair.

Rekha Rodwittiya

This side of the Forrest…..

This side of the Forrest
A solo exhibition of Vasudevan Akkitham
was on view from the 5th to the 19th December 2014
as part of 
SITE art space &  The Collective Studio Baroda Collaboration
in Vadodara

A poet father, whose words wrapped a young boy in their magic, made for a place of belonging never to be forgotten, even when journeys away from this heartland took the boy far away. In the preamble of getting to know himself as a young artist he found a vast fortune in the treasures of art history. He conversed with himself through the conduit of time that was framed on walls in the corridors of these legacies.

This Side of the Forest frames the preoccupations of Vasudevan Akkitham’s concept of home being central to his work.  He refers to this territory as being a migrant’s dream, yet imaginary and elusive, and in no way corresponding to the actual place he comes from. For him it becomes a life source of sustenance, something he falls back on as the touchstone of reaffirmation of his own existence. It is a subconscious space of attachment that nurtures his spirit, and where the act of painting can unlock deeper terrains where the most meaningful communication is possible in the communion with himself.

The artist’s incessant engagement with drawing as a private space of discourse formulates a major component of his art practice. These notational ideas are instantly caught and held like the quickened pulse of desire, to be momentarily stilled in the pages of his sketchbooks. Unnoticed by others and carried casually without ceremony like a portable world of fantasy, he escapes even in the midst of the humdrumness of everyday teaching in the classroom, to this persistent call of his own moorings. In his studio these miniature-formats then bloom into larger more ordered and designed representations of his personal philosophies, where he paints and draws from the folklores of his childhood and the urban narratives of his adult dwelling, shut away from the pressures of the outside world; and where time conforms to his dictates alone.

The making of a work can often be a protracted affair with Vasudevan, where the image surface maybe reworked exhaustively; sometimes even over many years. His acrylic paintings, layered like overwritten manuscripts, have the final images finding their completion through his painstaking negotiations with the act of finality. This process, unlike the sketchbook drawings, alludes to an infinity that suggests a never-ending span of time in which the artist is unhurried about the final outcome, and where the act of creating becomes the mission in itself. On the other hand the large paper works which are inscribed with imagery that are mutations from the plethora of myths and legends that populate his mental landscape, are fleshed from agitated gestural marks; and the watercolours with their beguiling tranquillity underplay the hidden violence that they contain. Working almost everyday, he has amassed a huge body of work that traces his linguistic journey from his early influences derived from the Trivandrum school of art and his engagement with the figurative narrative movement when he came to study at the faculty of Fine arts in Baroda; and then later his exposure to the New Spirit of Figuration prevalent in London, when he was at the Royal College of art in the late 80’s.

This artist’s studio is a treasure trove, where his work is piled high and deep against the walls. As you look around this intimate space you are encased with an energy that speaks of personal myths; and like reinvented Jataka tales his drawings and paintings open up his world for rediscovery, afresh. The ultimate Sutradhaar, Vasudevan provides you a world of fascination within which to explore and find yourself. The poet’s son now conjures his own magical world of imagery that takes you to his heartland of belonging.

Rekha Rodwittiya