Want to know how artists interpret the Covid-19 pandemic? Find out here
Objet Trouvé+ Residency came about when most artists had already been through a challenging lockdown. The fifteen-day virtual residency was held from September 20, 2020 to October 4, 2020, for eleven artists and one writer (of art). This unique opportunity to work on a common theme, while re-examining their creative process, drew its inspiration from the Surrealist principle of the found object, the notion that one could project one’s thoughts and ideas onto a representational readymade object/s.
For curator Apurva Kulkarni, it was an in-depth exercise in blending the core beliefs of the early Surrealists with Jungian analysis, creating a safe space for participants to explore their impulses, delve into their unconscious and revel in the pure act of ‘making’, without ‘exterior pressures’ that questioned image making — through dialogue, introspection and self reflection.
‘Still, Life’ an online exhibition designed and curated by Apurva Kulkarni and documented by Nishita Zachariah, was an idea long in gestation. It birthed during the pandemic, seeking and creating a safe space for artists, who didn’t have a venue to exhibit. It was inaugurated on Jan 22, 2022 over a virtual meeting with selected artists from across borders and time zones, and now presents a fitting result of the residency online, a getaway to navigate the visual space.
THE ARTISTS, THE EXHIBITION
The artists include Alok Johri, Akhila H, Atita Tawarer, Apurva Kulkarni, Caroline Bertram, Jagannathan Krishnan, Kanka Takkar, Kiran Kittur, Miriam Gracias, Nandini Hirianniah, Nishita Zachariah, Rachna Badrakia, Yashtika Tandon and Sushma Mandappa. Look at the differences in terms of ultimate aspiration in each depiction and react to it on your own.
Assavri Kulkarni’s sketches of frogs, dragonflies, birds, insects, mushrooms, probably symbolises the damage caused to the environment by humans. Details and textures in vibrant turquoise in a painting by Harsh Pandya has serpentine lines, flowing hypnotically throughout the picture plane with dots of white highlights, as a semi-abstraction of a face emerges.
Clips from Mansi Trivedi’s video of childhood narratives, and Miriam Koshy’s film follows an eponymous plaster cast and looks at the archetypal spiritual double of objects across her studio, “a space of contemplation and change”, a refuge in uncertain times. “This rented home is a silent witness, as the threshold for the figure’s adventure. Time features as a staccato supporting character, a metronome keeping pace in the eerie stillness,” Miriam elucidates.
Placement art by Alok Johri, a candle on a table; Nayna Bandekar’s basket with fish and photographs of human faces; Umesh Shebe’s two feet, one foot with flowers in a vase; Dia Bhandari’s severed heads and the skeleton of a fish; a stool with a sari draped by Shanthi Kasivisvanathan; the recognizable forms suggest a narrative.
Artists have turned away from reality in the face of the current urgencies, forming critical questions of social aloofness, and masks in terms of their geographical locations, age, gender, dealing with the ongoing predicament and arriving at a plural experience. Their social commentary translates narrations of a new way of life and concerns, and summarise an edgy fragility and pressures that have interrupted social life, as humans helplessly witness the inevitable flow of time.
The exhibition ‘Still, Life’ can be viewed online at altamirraonline.com