One brushstroke at a time
An artist duo from Jaipur layers Rajput miniatures with found objects and scrap material to create an art show meant to be soaked in slowly
There was a time when viewing Indian miniatures was itself an art. "It used to be a sensory experience with music and fragrances, where the paintings would be hand-held," says Surya of the Jaipur-based husband-wife artist duo Wolf. While for practical purposes, the artworks in their upcoming show, Ultramarine, in Mumbai will be wall-mounted, there will be fragrances and lights to recreate the "mahaul", Surya promises.
The artworks are layered with objects created by artists from across India
The exhibition is a slow art show, elaborates Ritu, the other half of the duo. "Miniatures take long to materialise, the creation of colours being a lengthy process itself," she explains, referring to how lapis lazuli would be ground to make a shimmering blue to paint the seas, skies and the divinity. And to appreciate such intricate art, one needs to savour it at a pace that’s a departure from the rushed tempo of life. But the detailing in their artworks doesn’t stop here. Inspired by Rajput miniatures, they are a modern take on the tradition, layered with found objects and scrap material — the duo’s primary medium to create spaces and installations.
A collaborative project, Ritu informs that while miniature artists Gautam Sharma and Usman Tirandaz, and cord-makers from the Patua community helped with the paintings, objects that layer them include shola flowers by Madhumangal Malakar from West Bengal, mirror work by National Award winner Awaz Mohammad, and flexible brass fish made in a village in Odisha.
Having showcased their work at the Kochi Biennale 2018 and the literature festival in Jaipur, Ritu and Surya are now gearing towards creating a site-specific installation at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in late 2020-early 2021, for which they have explored what they call scrap possibilities in the Texan city.
"There are enough troubles in the world," says Ritu. "That’s why we are always looking for a world of fantasy and magic realism, and give people stories of hope."
From October 11 to 20, 10 am to 1 pm
At BARO, 12, Sun Mill, Lower Parel.
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