Discovered! An ATM that helps control your anger

Jan 18, 2012, 06:43 IST | Soma Das

From elephants to punkhas and Einstein's theories, an art walk conducted by curator Tasneem Mehta-Zakaria, and artists LN Tallur and Sharmila Samant at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum will give art buffs a fascinating walk through the city's history as well as a look at contemporary sculptures and installations that are part of Tallur's latest exhibition, Quintessential

If you're an art buff who is often confounded by paintings/ installations on display, here's an answer to your prayers. Drop the impersonal catalogue and instead head to the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, which will host an exhibition tour of artist LN Tallur's new installations.

An exhibit showcasing the Anger Therapy Machine (ATM) by artist LN Tallur

Tallur will be accompanied by Tasneem Mehta-Zakaria, curator of the exhibition and artist Sharmila Samant. The trio will engage viewers in a walk through the process of viewing art coupled with insightful nuggets behind the concept as well as installations.

Titled Quintessential, the exhibition features 14 room-sized installations, which constitute a fantasy of the absurd to unsettle the viewer and mirror society's obsessions and distortions.
The artist uses a scientific approach to capture the original intentions with which the Museum was established in the 19th century and comment on issues that are topical today.
One such exhibit is the elephant sculpture, which depicts a wooden elephant cut into pieces. "It is inspired by a historical incident in 1864 when a British officer wanted to carry a wooden elephant from the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum (then Victoria and Albert Museum) to England.

An exhibit by artist LN Tallur showcasing how ancient icons
have become obsolete

However, as the crane crashed, the elephant was shattered into pieces. Through this distorted elephant, one can imagine its past and the condition it has gone through," shares Tallur.

Another interesting exhibit is the Anger Therapy Machine (ATM), which features a punkha (ceiling fan used during colonial times). "The servant or punkhawalah would pull the thread to blow the air. I gave it a contemporary twist and turned it into a tool to manage anger.
The idea is that people can sit under the punkha when they are angry and start thinking that, 'It's frustrating and it's understandable that I'm upset about it but it's not the end of the world'," he says.

Some of the exhibits use Einstein's Theory of Relativity to explain the universe and debate whether objects acquire a fifth dimension when they are "museumised". He also depicts how traditional symbols and icons have become obsolete and have been abruptly integrated into industry, progress and development.

Wooden elephant exhibit based on an 1864 incident that
occurred at the museum

The Bangalore-born artist, now shuffles between India and Korea and admits that it has influenced his art. He believes the walk will be a perfect platform for viewers to interact with art connoisseurs. "It benefits both parties. I will get feedback; I can also share my view point with the viewers," states Tallur.

Art of the matter
The tour is an initiative by Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum and Asia Society, a not-for-profit organisation working across arts, business, culture, education and policy. Their aim is to strengthen relationships among people and institutions of Asia and the United States.

"What better way to understand art than to listen to insiders including artists, curators and academics talk about it while you face the work.

An art walk provides its audience an opportunity to explore and respond to an exhibition at a gallery or a museum's collection of art," reasons Pooja Varma, senior programme officer, Asia Society India Centre.

Previously, the Asia Society has conducted art walks for exhibitions such as Jitish Kallat's Museum for Field Notes: Tomorrow Was Here Yesterday and they have collaborated with NGMA for Homi Bhabha and Modern Indian art.

ON Jan 21, 11.30 am to 1.30 pm AT Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, Veer Mata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, Byculla (E). EMAIL asiasociety to RSVP. Registrations begin at 11 am

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