In the present-day scenario of image-making and reception, one is not merely surrounded by, but rather exists in an inseparably networked environment of a proliferation of the virtual and mediatized worlds rendered omnipresent by technology. This condition, to me, seems to leave for the society a multiplicity of vectors, where individuals can choose any point of intersection between that multiplicity. Each individual therefore, can exist in multifarious identities and pseudo-identities; under various overlapping systems of representation; and in a relationship between persons and spaces marked by flux due to these overlaps. ‘Nature’, ‘real-time’, ‘space’, ‘image’, all acquire and moult meanings constantly, thereby displacing all axes for cognitive perception. It is in this displacement of axes that I situate my art-practice, where media, objects, and images are incessantly susceptible to instability.
Having been trained in sculpture within an academic milieu, I have always encountered an insistence on the ‘object-hood’ of art-works. This aspect seems to run pervasively through the commoditization of art in today’s time despite interventions of performance, digital and installation art. However, over a course of two years while I was pursuing my Masters Degree, my engagement shifted from exploring the intrinsic possibilities of the medium, the object and the image, to utilizing the surrounding space of display for my aesthetic expression. From there onwards, I have rarely confined my practice to creating objects, but instead focussed on the accretion of meanings that temporarily bind an art-object to its site of display and its context. This has led to my preoccupation with the idea of site-specificity as the only constant within an oeuvre of very diverse art-works, as well as the possibilities of allusions that one medium or object can bring.
It is with the above-mentioned notions in mind that I pedestalize a rusted television set in ‘Live’. The television is perhaps the most ubiquitous source of our access to the world/globe today, especially with regard to middle-class India. The ‘live’ in the title refers to perceiving the object in actuality, and the mediated reality that the television begets in the form of live telecasts. On a similar note, ‘Real’ points to the aspect of spectacularity that pervades our everyday life, and the fact that the real can also be switched off and on, and may even fuse at any point. ‘Black on Black’ is a tribute to Malevich, in which I had tried to transfigure his ideals of suprematist abstraction back into the figurative. In this work, I tried to bring the question of culture and race, of self and ‘othering’ by inserting a life-size sculpture of myself, as if shrouded by ‘colour’. ‘Rusted Brain’ is a recent work that frames a typical text-book diagram, profile view, of a human brain that I made using rusted nails. The work employs sarcasm and ‘speaks’ about sarcasm, since the brain also resembles a speech-bubble against the white mount in the frame.
The aspect of displacing all the axes for cognitive perception, as mentioned earlier, thus becomes fundamental to my art-works, for it is not from the identification and interpretation of the object that meaning may be derived. Rather, it is from the dispersed contexts overriding the object that meanings may be read. Ellipsis has consequently been the most significant feature of my works, as I have attempted to engage the viewer’s mind and not the eye, by showing the interstices between an art-object and it’s surrounding. The locus of attention is yet retained by the presence of the art-object.