An illusion of experience

Published: Oct 04, 2019, 07:00 IST | Dalreen Ramos

Artist Sajid Wajid Shaikh takes a different route from his usual illustrative approach with an installation that plays with light

A blue print of the installation; the helmet-like structure in the centre will provide an immersive experience through torches inserted in cylindrical fittings and a magnifying plastic sheet. One can then rotate the installation either clockwise or anti-clockwise
A blue print of the installation; the helmet-like structure in the centre will provide an immersive experience through torches inserted in cylindrical fittings and a magnifying plastic sheet. One can then rotate the installation either clockwise or anti-clockwise

If all art were to be defined, not by its aesthetic value, but for its purpose to the human mind, then Marcel Duchamp would be President. Revolutionising 20th century art, the American-French painter pondered not just on the meaning of electricity and how it could be equated with art, but also on the relevance of motion in a world that was then dominated by the static canvas. Tomorrow, in Kala Ghoda's Method, renowned self-taught visual artist Sajid Wajid Shaikh attempts a similar experiment.

Named after the SI-derived unit of illuminance and luminous emittance, Lux, an exhibition that goes on until October 27, probes into the relationship between light and human vision. And if you're familiar with the 30-year-old artist's work, just the blueprint is enough to tell you that it is unlike anything he has produced before. In fact, the first thing he says is that it's an experiment into the unknown. With a single installation comprising a locally-sourced plastic magnifying sheet and torches, the show won't just be a visual treat but will tap into the olfactory and aural senses via a diffuser and music. The sound playing in the gallery will feature musicians Siddharth Vernekar, Zahaan Khan and Kartik Mishra.

Guide
Shaikh regards his upcoming exhibition as a departure from his previous work; a painting for Full Circle, an exhibition at  ARTISANS'

Shaikh, based in Navi Mumbai, began working on the piece in January this year in Delhi. "The material refracts light and creates an illusion; you can compare this effect to putting an object in front of a magnifying glass. The helmet-like structure in the centre facilitates this interactive experience as you can step inside the pod and turn it clockwise or anti-clockwise. It puts the visitor in a dream-like state," he explains. Well aware that this is a distinct departure from his previous work, Shaikh also states that he didn't have any initial concerns. He describes himself as an artist who enjoys every way of drawing a line on paper. "The idea was an artistic approach. The end-result is a by-product of enjoyment. My philosophy is all about not being judgemental and not being in control of the end result," he adds.

Guide

The concept, for Shaikh, is like abstract art itself and the takeaway for each person in the gallery will vary, or as he puts it, "What light means to you, might not be the same for me." But do we get to see more of this abstraction in his future work? Going by Shaikh's Instagram account, it is easy to say he doesn't maintain a strict visual identity, and besides, he also answers, "a 100 per cent, yes" in response. He concludes, "This is only the first inquiry. Generally with my artwork, I reach a point where there is nothing further to explore in it. So, I might delve into this again or who knows, I might get bored."
ON October 5 to 27, 11 am to 8 pm
AT Method, 86 Nagindas Master Road, Kala Ghoda.
LOG ON TO themethod.in (to RSVP)

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