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A ton of bricks

Architect-cum-artist Bijoy Jain prefers to call his current installations at Chemould Prescott Road as “documentations”. The recent winner of the third BSI Swiss Architecture Award in 2012, Bijoy Jain, founder of Studio Mumbai explains his upcoming Demolition Series -- a series of architectural frameworks -- as sheer intuition. Half-made structures of simple brick, mortar and construction materials, these challenging frames will get you thinking in the ‘is the glass half full or empty’ mode.

One of Bijoy Jain's installations from the Demolition Series
One of Bijoy Jain’s installations from the Demolition Series

“Demolition is mostly perceived as a negative state. But if you pause back, you can see that there is a new space, right in front of our eyes, that is to be recreated,” says the artist whose Studio Mumbai presented at the XII Venice Biennale and at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.

Varied stone blocks drawing attention to their cultural past
Varied stone blocks drawing attention to their cultural past

Intrigued by the constant flux of destruction and construction, Jain avers, “Choice is a phenomenon that we are constantly confronted with. When we walk, gravitational force exists but we make a choice to sit, stand and sleep which are not sheer muscular impulses; but the force within us is in collision with the force that is around us.”

Colourful structures evoking their emotive quality
Colourful structures evoking their emotive quality. Pics courtesy/Lakshmi Menon

It is the dialogue or the flux that Jain aims to invoke through his structures. Divulging information about one of his enigmatic installations, he shares, “The Gravestone installation of mine is about how these gravestones belonged to a 17th century Dutch cemetery located in Surat.

A bare installation with a skeleton structure from the Demolition Series
A bare installation with a skeleton structure from the Demolition Series

In the present age, another community uses it as monoliths for their foundations in their shops. This re-use represents a sense of void or death for me as the community lacks empathy.”

So, the installation becomes what these gravestones meant, their current significance as of now and the foreboding importance they will have in the future along side the cultural meaning they held in the past, the artist infers during the flow of the conversation.

Drawing attention to obelisks that are cut very precisely to evoke expression, plan a visit to rediscover an emotive quality to space as Bijoy Jain asserts that these installations can be thought of as even an anthropological study.

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