I am a multidisciplinary artist from Bangalore, studied in MS University. Currently practicing in Bangalore, Karnaraka. My work has developed in number of ways over the years yet from the very beginning of my art practice, I have workded in Painting, Printmaking, Installation, Video Art and Live/ Performance art. My intention is to blend these mediums into an interdisciplinary language.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Ouch! Artist bolts camera to skull for year-long show

"It still hurts," says Wafaa Bilal. And that is perhaps not surprising.

The Iraqi artist has a camera attached to three titanium plates, bolted into the back of his skull. The camera is taking one photo every minute for the next year, and is feeding the images in real-time to a new show of contemporary art in Doha, Qatar. It also tracks his every move via GPS. All this in the name of art. But the pain is getting to him just a little. "I still have to treat it regularly with hot towels and salt water," he told BBC World Service.

Girlfriend's view
Everyday life has got a bit more complicated. Taking a shower, for example. Wafaa hopes to upgrade his camera to a water-proof one soon, but in the meantime, he needs to wear a shower-cap - transparent, of course. Or going through airport security, which on his first flight proved a lengthy process, involving various scans and tests. And what view does his girlfriend take of his unusual artistic experiment?
"So far, she is very supportive and has not imposed any lens cap curfew for any moment of our lives," he told the BBC. But it is early days. "The entire project is very dynamic," he adds, offering himself a little get out clause. Wafaa Bilal is a photography professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, and that is one place where he has agreed to put the lens cap on, to protect the privacy of his students. When asked why he is doing it, he gives several reasons, but one is connected with having fled Iraq in 1991 - and having nothing to remind him of his former life.
"My city Najaf was under bombardment and the smoke was rising from it, I wished at that moment that I could record what was left behind," he says. He spent two years in a refugee camp, before moving to the US, where he was granted political asylum. Most of his family stayed behind, and in 2004 his brother Haji was killed by a missile at a checkpoint. His father - heart-broken and devastated - refused to eat or drink, and died soon after.
Surgery refused
This project ensures that he will at least have a full and permanent record of his life in 2011. But Wafaa says the project is also intended as a comment on today's surveillance society, where people in cities spend much of their lives under the watchful eyes of security cameras. He spent three years trying to get the project going, but hit several brick walls. Gallery after gallery turned him away, and doctors refused his request to have the camera inserted into his head, deeming it too risky.
In the end, he had the work done at a body-piercing studio, and had to opt for a slightly scaled-down version of his original plan, with the mounting posts inserted into his head, rather than the camera itself. His piece, called The 3rdi, is showing at the brand new Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha. It's part of an exhibition of 23 new works that is the first ever contemporary art exhibition in Qatar, and "the largest to be held in the Arab world within a museum context," according to co-curator Till Fellrath. Critics descibre the project as a gimmick, say it intrudes on other people's privacy, and question whether it is really art.
Body in charge
"People react very sharply - should someone do this kind of thing and isn't it gruesome? But Wafaa Bilal is raising a lot of issues of our time," says Till Fellrath. The artist has a track-record of controversial works under his belt. Earlier this year, he had his back tattooed with a borderless map of Iraq, with a dot marking the spot of each Iraqi and US casualty. And he once spent a month confined to a gallery in Chicago for his project Domestic Tensions, where people around the world were invited to shoot him with a paintball via a webcam. As a photographer, he likes the idea of his body - instead of his eyes - being in charge of the camera shots for a change. "There are some quite strange ones, and many, many mundane images that individually may not be that appealing, but collectively they form a quite nice mosaic from everyday life."
He sees the camera as "part of him" and says his project provides a small taste of the future. As technology develops, he says, instead of carrying devices like mobile phones around with us, they will increasingly become integrated with the human body.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Unseen Picasso paintings found in garage

A huge cache of canvas painted by Pablo Picasso nearly 100 years ago were unveiled for the first time by a French man who claimed the art works were gifted to him by the legend. The collection of 271 paintings, drawings, sketches and lithographs, many of which were previously unknown, dates from 1900 to 1932. The extraordinary works of Picasso, worth more than 50 million pounds, were found at the home of a retired French electrician, The Guardian reported.

The revelation came on Sept 9, when Pierre Le Guennec, in his 70s, approached the office of the Picasso Administration, which manages the artist's legacy, seeking certificate of authenticity of the artifacts. In the office of Claude Picasso, 63, the late painter's son, who represents the artist's heirs and estate, he produced 175 different works that, he claimed, were by Picasso. The art works include nine cubist collages worth at least 40 million euros, a painting from his celebrated blue period, drawings and models for some of his most important works and portraits of his first wife, the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova.

Experts said many of the paintings had a numbering system known only to the painter. Various works are from the period between 1900 and 1932, when the young and penniless Picasso arrived in France from Barcelona to the beginning of his recognition as one of the world's greatest artists. Le Guennec also produced two notebooks containing 97 previously unseen drawings, along with 59 photographs of other pieces. The electrician said Picasso and his wife Jacqueline had given him the pieces after he installed alarm systems at the painter's various homes, including the La Californie in Cannes, the Chateau de Vauvenargues and the mill at Notre Dame de Vie in Mougins, where Picasso died in 1973.
In October, police raided Le Guennec's home and confiscated a total of 271 items. Le Guennec was taken into custody but was released without being charged with any crime. Claude Picasso told the French newspaper Liberation that the discovery came after Le Guennec sent him letters in January, March and April this year enclosing dozens of photographs of various Picasso works he said he owned, and asking for certificates of authenticity. Dismissing them as fakes because they did not appear in any catalogue or inventory of the artist's known work, Claude Picasso refused Le Guennec's requests.
"Many of these pieces weren't dated, which shows they should never have left his studio," he said. Claude Picasso said the collection has a "historic importance" as it was produced during a "crucial period; a revolutionary movement in art". - Hindustan Times

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Katharsis in a forbidden zone - An exhibition at Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore

The works in the exhibition at Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore, India represent, epitomise and evoke various alchemical substances to suggest a precise examination of their properties, the laboratory paraphernalia alluding to different stages of purification and transformation, while a host of more or less ordinary objects link the findings of the quasi-science and modern scholarship with the character of our reality, human imperfections or impurities as well as hope and ideals. The large canvases deal with the basic classical metals of alchemy in a manner that binds them with and lets them disclose rudimentary qualities of the human disposition. The artist begins from a position of neutral objectivity and in the centre of the paintings places a researcher’s table whose frontal position in vanishing point perspective seems to display it clearly to the viewer. The table covered by white cloth introduces the sense of an old-fashioned study but with a tinge of domestic interior. The vessels for chemical experiments and a profusion of other objects demonstrate their nature and connections at various planes. 

With the help of the titles one can grasp some of the content, whereas, indeed, like in the obscure science of alchemy, the specific, often complex relationships between motifs necessitate detailed elucidation. On longer scrutiny, the objects arranged so as to indicate their condition begin to stir responding to one another. As one recalls the words denoting energy, flow and spirit that recur in Dimple’s drawings, the items on the table top which usually include devices that heat substances contained in glass retorts appear to enact self-presentation and transformation, like performers explaining themselves to the attentive audience. The sense of a nearly theatrical scene is enhanced by the large format of the paintings that invite an immediate, static focus from the spectator.

The installation is a shower cubicle broad enough to accommodate a single person, modern and rudimentary of character but reverberating of scared bath rituals. The steel shower head, pipes and basin may be ordinary, their glimmering smoothness yet exuding a minimalist aesthetic finesse. The four external walls studded with hundreds and hundreds of tiny glass bottles with hair and nail shavings, with ash and salt conjure an impact that is raw, fragile and perishable as well as enchantingly ephemeral when the translucent sheets fill with immaterial radiance against light. The substances in the phials represent the physical frame, the medical allusiveness of the samples in their containers suggesting illness but also a possibility of cure. The empty space surrounded by curtains inscribed with the enigmas of alchemy, between the shower and the basin strewn with grain salt is intended to hold and cleanse the invisible spirit, the body and the soul never to be considered alien. The sensitivity and the senses of the person entering the cubicle become engaged on multiple levels, the sight heightened and completed by the smell and the sound of water along with alchemical process hymns.

Silent View

“Silent View” illustrates just a single bullet on the table in a surrealistic landscape to display the power of the metal iron in our society. Iron is now synonymous with wars, weapons and violence, for disputes arising out of land and territories.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tin Cry

It is a video installation piece where I attempt to preserve my body and soul from decomposition but in the process I realize that it is a completely impossible task since the tin/aluminum foil which is used to preserve food and other items cannot preserve life, and so it cannot preserve my body and soul from corrosion. It is a conditional preservation, the whole act becoming a Paradoxical Act. The video is supported by audio, talking about the experience during my performance.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Great Expectation

Great Expectation speaks about silver. In history and present times, silver has always been connected to dreamy worlds and poetry. The lunar influence on metal also adds to the quality and character of the metals for example the black and white images of photography where silver is used to bring out the images, and it has also been linked to film industries’ “Silver Screen’. The word lunatic, which has lunar influences, is also linked with the moon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Satan’s Gravitas

Acrylic on canvas, 7 ft x 6 ft, 2010
Lead has a satanic quality, it is compared with the planet Saturn that symbolizes time and death. I have used this character as metaphor. Investigative agencies have found excessive lead levels in bones and hair samples of criminals, which is a very clear indication of the connection between increases in crime rates in our present society. I have displayed this in my work “Satan’s Gravitas”. Scientifically speaking Saturn has reverse gravity which is a metaphor for negativity.
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