French light artist, Marko93, arrives in Mumbai to paint a mural on a Hill Road wall
Light artist and graffiti painter, Marko93 is on a tour of India, this month. After covering Kolkata, Bangalore and Pune, the artist, invited by Alliance Francaise, is currently in Mumbai to paint a mural near Bandra’s Carter Road, share techniques with people here and eventually conduct a monulighting (light painting) project at Bandra Fort. The unassuming artist was feeling the walls of St Joseph’s Convent on Hill Road when we met him.
Marko93 cancelled his project in Pune after the recent Paris attack. Instead he painted this pigeon, holding the Eiffel tower from its beak, as a mark of solidarity. Pics courtesy/Marko93
“It needs to be cleaned up,” he muttered, took a few steps back and eventually moved to the pavement across the road, to measure his canvas. This is going to be the site for his mural. “Light painting is a collective performance and is of gigantic proportion. We paint in the space with light and it is captured through either video or photographs. There are no physical remains of light painting,” he explained, adding that it is advisable for people to carry smartphones when going for a light art performance.
Prinsep Ghat in Kolkata lit up by Marko93’s light painting project
Marko, who is considered a pioneer of light painting, started with street art in the 1980s and named himself 93 after the area he was born in. “I started light art after I saw the photograph of a car shot with long time exposure. It was fascinating and I decided that I could work art into this process,” he shared and added, “When I started, I thought I was the first to use this technique but I later realised that the legendary visual artist, Man Ray has been using this technique from the 1930s.” The difference, he mentioned, is that the others have used the technique for photos but he uses it to create graffiti and even choreography.
Marko93 at Hill Road, Bandra
He had earlier visited India in 2009 and performed light art at Kancheepuram, Khajuraho and Taj Mahal. In this trip, he worked on with film students of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata, where they put together a light art project on the Hooghly riverfront at Prinsep Ghat. “They were already aware of the techniques and bonded well, so, it was a good performance,” Marko recounted.
Apart from his love for Hindu temple architecture, he was impressed that animals like cows or even monkeys lived in such close proximity to people even in metropolitan cities. His fondness for animals comes across in his work where the bear and tiger often come back as themes. After the November 14 terrorist attacks in Paris, he cancelled his show in Pune and created a mural of a pigeon there, to express the need for peace.