Times weighs heavily on 32-year-old artist Prajakta Potnis’ mind. It even inspired her latest exhibition, titled Time Lapse. This is the Mumbai-based artist’s third solo presentation with The Guild. It explores the imperceptible elements that affect the psyche of individuals, and she tries to address social and individual anxieties through the degeneration that happens on a daily basis. From the decay of vegetables in a refrigerator to the cancerous growth on everyday objects, the passage of time has intrigued Potnis immensely, and found a way into her art.
Explaining the reasons behind the exhibition, she says, “When I was invited to show my works in Mumbai and Kolkata, simultaneously, I felt it was an opportunity to view the two cities through the lens of time. To start with, there is a time difference between Mumbai and Kolkata, which has not been followed since post-Independence. According to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), Mumbai is 1 hour 2 minute and 9.6000000000017 seconds behind the scheduled time in Kolkata. I wanted to explore and unravel such layers only to have a better understanding of both the cities.”
For Potnis, this notion of time difference between cities emerged as a starting point to enter and understand the two cities. “I am trying to look at both mega-cites to understand how an individual’s life is affected by the various draconian laws and how loopholes within a system dictate the fate of its citizens,” she adds.
Aside from practical difficulties, Time Lapse is also a veiled comment on bureaucratic corruption that bogs down schedules. “My past experience with projects within public spaces helped me observe local issues such as land grab and water politics and enabled me to experience the loop holes that exist within our warped bureaucratic system. One can experience stagnation and the apathy of a veiled governance as soon as one gets acquainted with it, at the ground level. I am looking at the time lapse that prevails and metaphorically connecting it to a systems failure that exits in both the cities.”
Potnis completed her BFA and MFA from Mumbai’s Sir JJ School of Art. Her artworks have been featured in various museums including Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, China, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, France and Essl Museum of Contemporary Art, Austria.
Designs on the delta
This project evolved during 2009 and 2012 in the Sunderbans and areas bordering the forests through research led by workshops, seminars and performances. This project was initiated by artist Abhijit Gupta and attempts to define contemporary interdisciplinary practices combining art, design, aesthetics and architecture, exploring ideas of sustainability through natural materials in lived environments. In response to tidal inundations and cyclones that regularly devastate the Sunderbans this project interrogated the stop gap arrangements which didn’t work for the local communities.