Breaking out of chamber, with art
Four artists give voice to their innermost thoughts, evoke memories of a distant past and depict human life ignored in a metropolis through various forms of new media
‘Come and meet me as agreed and do never ever think that I will let this opportunity pass.’ This line is typed out below a picture of a car parked next to a wall with peeling paint, with the words ‘Anjelina Joli’ scrawled across it. ‘I will be there to meet you as agreed...’ it continues. The lines are revelatory of a planned escape, a determination for a better future. But the most poignant part of the letter is in what’s left unsaid — what if the writer did not get her happy ending?
The picture is part of Delhi-based artist Rana Dasgupta’s works at the Voice From The Chamber exhibition at Chatterjee & Lal gallery, which includes works of installation, animation, water colour, print and photography by four artists.
Dasgupta’s works have been in the making for a decade. In 2001, the artist didn’t have an internet connection at home and he, much like the rest of the country, had to go to internet cafes to check email. Dasgupta recalls how people wrote everything from official letters to love letters at home, copied them to a CD and transferred them to the hard disk of the café’s computers. Later, these hard drives became the source of content for his work. “I wanted them (the letters) to come out of the hard drives and become a kind of universal statement about the city,” he explains.
The project left him moved. “When you live in a city of 10 million people, you feel only you or your friends have an intense life. But when you come across something like this, you realise everyone has intense lives or problems.”
Another Delhi-based artist, Gagan Singh, has installations and minimalist drawings on display. One of his drawings is of him running alongside a dog in a park. “I once had this experience where I struggled to run in the park. But once the park grew dark, I felt like it opened up and accepted me,” recalls Singh, adding that the minimalist lines in drawings stand for the emotional energy that he felt in the park. “It was as if the forces of nature were with me,” he adds.
Artist Nityan Unnikrishnan’s drawings are based on the theme that the rural always clashes with the urban and its ideas of progress. He explains that he always keeps a sketch book by his side and that they “have a way of leading you on to make drawings within ‘frames’, almost like graphic novels.” “In that sense, these works have almost popped out of that,” explains Unnikrishnan.
An architect by education, Mumbai-based artist Samir Parker’s works are drawings of a nameless, large metropolis drawn from his point of view. He explains that he is fascinated by the ‘in-between’ spaces and identities that survive in a large city, alongside its large flyovers and skyscrapers, adding that even amidst breathless urban development, there is space for personal identities. “We all have illusions about what the city should be from a political point of view, a gender point of view and so on,” he elaborates, adding that the city responds to a person depending on the identity s/he assumes.
When: Till January 18, 2014,
11 am to 7 pm
Where: Chatterjee & Lal, Kamal Mansion, first floor, Arthur Bunder road, Colaba
A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli