What: Artist Pierre Legrand had transformed multi-talented writer and danseuse Anuradha Majumdar’s poetry into something ethereal — between words, matter and light — in 1999 in an exhibition titled, Light Matter. Recently released, the eponymous book traces Legrand’s journey that started with his collaboration with Majumdar’s poetry.

Legrand is seen here working on an artwork, titled Multidots ‘Skins’ using acrylic and thread

Legrand shares, “We began to translate through our conversations and these translated in poems.” Majumdar is known for her works in fiction, young adult, and poetry. Legrand works with all kinds of materials: canvas, wood, plastic, paint, stainless steel, and acrylic sheets , as per the book.

“At first, letters were cut in translucent paper, subsequently carved in wood and stone, gradually morphing to a linear alphabet and then to one retained by dots. So some variations of this script may look like cuneiform letters, some more like runes, and the one simplified to dots, looks like Braille,” says Legrand.

How: The exhibition acted as the starting point after which Legrand changed as an artist. Explaining its conception, he shares, “There was a deep spiritual experience where I saw both light and colour accompanied by music. This happened after a very difficult and painful experience in my life. I carried the memory of that experience for years, unable to translate in concrete form. This occurred in 1984.

Exposition of the exhibition, The Light Matter, which transformed Anuradha Majumdar’s poetry into art. 

It was finally made possible with the invention of a script by cutting holes through translucent paper which could catch the light and also let it pass through.” The poems were translated in panels of paper, each measuring 8X6 feet. Legrand has been creating works on same terms of porosity, light, transparence and lightness ever since.

The artist says: “I assigned three numbers to each letter (between one and three), thus creating an algorithm which helped me colour different letters.”