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.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

For Reconciliation

Sethu Samudram Project, India-Srilanka collaborative project curated by Suresh Jayaram

It has been some years since #1 Shanthi Road started the Sethu Samudram project allowing interaction between local artists and their Sri Lankan counterparts from Theertha. In the face of earlier and grave recent history linking both countries as well as effecting in conflict, it has been dominated by geographic, socio-political and cultural issues, their pronouncement being as important as seeking a common ground and reconciliation. 

Although sadly, art still does not reach anyone beyond the Art circles proper, such ventures remain vital. Previous efforts of the artists who often participate continuously and of Suresh Jayaram, the moving spirit behind it all, have contributed then to their fleshing out during the recent joint residency, whose character was led by his curatorial guidance or perhaps only stimulus. 

The resulting exhibition from November 1st to 9th had two young participants from both lands led by the desire for overcoming the three decades of a complex and destructive war by reference, evocation and by drawing the onlooker into the mainly interactive installations. 

The Bangalore artists seemed to approach the task in a compassionate and encompassing way. With much immediacy in visual and emotive terms, Dimple Shah, using the act of erasure of suffering images and by gifting sea salt, engaged the opponent aggressiveness, victims and perpetrators of violence on all the sides, her own gesture and the visitor’s active response through an appeal for mercy and at the same time for forgiveness.

The work of  Prakash L was sincere too, perturbed and empathic, whereas the metaphorical content partly came through, as the blood running through the tubes forming a soldier’s boot, menacing over crematorium shots spoke of rebirth and renewal. Yet it partly remained unclear and unconvincing. One would have wished for an equally loaded and forgiveness-seeking position from the Sri Lankans who, however, preferred a cooler, statement-like, approach. 

“A Story of Dhal and Onion” by Prasanna Ranabahu and Lalith Manage was an accordion book with words and photographic prints alluding to the 1983 war with its ideological, commercial and psychological aspects whose realities, though, needed elucidation here. 

Manage’s T-shirts for sale calling for contact through the use of Sinhala, Tamil, Kannada and English scripts along with rangoli dotted lines was a nice but somewhat over-used idea.

Marta Jakimowicz
19 November 2012,  Deccan Herald,Bangalore.
Photographs by - B.S. Shivaraju (Cop Shiva)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dual Paradox - Parallel Existence. Live Performance for Live Art Lab 2012 at Rasa Art Gallery

As a performance artist I wanted to work on public interactive based project, in this direction I collaborated with Live Art Lab, Bangalore, which is initiated by group of artists including me, providing platform for National and International artists to share their works and take up workshops for students and upcoming performers in Bangalore. And also encourage to do experiments in performance art. Live Art Lab conducted its first event where six members  of the Lab, four young artists and students participated.

My performance was titled DUAL PARADOX - Parallel Existence, in this performance I dealt with existential elements which talks about general psychology, that deals with mass hysteria and viral disease in the society and one of sociological aspect which we encounter in our everyday life. I have tried to resurface paradox that is lead by Aspirations - Virtue and there co-existence. This performance brings two contrasting state (fame and anonymity) in one frame, questioning the parallel existence of both in our society. The common frame will not only bring in the two individuals but also their life stories and backgrounds that they come from, you can accept or neither deny/ignore any one. Paradoxical juxtapositions of coexistence while suggesting a more truthful and harmonious possibility of coexistence between two extremes.

The act is like a truth which you can neither accept nor can reject totally which we encounter in our everyday life and consciously questioning our minds with our own identity and entity. Sometimes many of us still keep on juggling between these two positions in these frames sometimes as anonymous and sometime other.

The constant struggle by the large anonymous population to achieve fame, if we consider there are large populations that remain in anonymity and about 15 percent in other half in fame. How this works out when they are put in one frame? The performance also ponders around the well known statement "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." This also brings in question of immortality of name in history books, the questions based on existence like - if they are not famous then does it equals to non existence or no voices heard, hordes of question related to identity and existence.

"Fame" once this was held only by a privileged few, fame went hand-in-hand with respect and hard work. To be famous meant that you had achieved something noteworthy, or had an exceptional talent. But things have changed, as demonstrated by the number of untalented people who are currently famous. Why has there been such a shift and why has the desire for fame become such a powerful motivation for so many people?

I would like to thank friends and artists present, for there overwhelming response to the event and active participation by lot of young talents, with great enthusiasm and spirit and making this event a Festival. Thank you Live Art Lab Members, Bar 1 Members and Rasa Gallery for the support.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Saffron Border - Live Performance at Kanoria Art Center

This performance addresses socio political situations in Gujarat, India, done in 2003 a year later communal massacre happened in Godhra. The communal violence took thousands of lives and many were left homeless. This massacre unfolded right in front of my eyes and I went through many horrific experiences and I tried to bring in my traumatic experience through this performance. The experience during the riots was terrifying. The city on fire, being surrounded by sensitive areas, the experience of  Gas cylinder bursting in neighboring lane from the burning houses, Milk man coming in middle of night, black commandos patrolling on streets. Hearing heart breaking stories of terror and violence’s where people were brutally killed by mobs, Women and children who were tortured and killed. Groups of mob came in hundreds and thousands killing and looting the people, houses and shops. Experiences of all this in my closed room with fear of that this can also happen to me anytime.

This experience of fear amplified with time as I could not see any news of the situation as there was no TV and with no sign of slowing down of riots in the city or in neighboring town and villages. I was only relieved from this situation and traumatic experience after the curfew was called off in four days. The city looked very different after that riots, there were hundreds of small houses in next lane belonging to one community, they were all burnt to ashes, people were killed, some of them escaped and fled, only vacant, broken and burnt houses left. It is very difficult to explain in word the loss and pain of the people during these riots. 

The performance was a combination of audio-video and live performance. The video shoot was done in Baroda; the video was combination of my performance, passion of saffron color, fear, lost dreams and pain, the fragmented and random images from city life this shots were amalgamated which were juxtaposed in layers. The video was supported by continues audio of railways tracks, which constantly reminds the "Burning Train" incident in Godhra massacre.

There was an additional audio along with video, voice given by Mumbai based Artist Bharati Kapadia, the audio narrates my journey and obsession with saffron color the color of passion and strength and how this color later on turned into color of fear and terror.  Basically this performance raised some of the basic questions of common man/women, their fears, insecurity, communal harmony, freedom and socio-political rights in the society. Questions like why history keeps on repeating and when there will be an end to such bloody violence.

The live performance was an act to bring out the traumatic experience of a person who has got stuck in fire, with no escape situation, the traumatic experience, the pain of burning live, and the cry for life. I tried to bring in all this experiences, with ritualistic performance of symbolically marking the border in saffron color and placing green house inside this boundary. The performance was basically to invoke the feeling of fear and terror inside the burning house and bring out the traumatic experience in front of audience. Then in the end of performance the green house was burnt. This performance work performed in many cities (Ahmadabad, Mumbai and in Bangalore) in front of varied audience which gave me opportunity to reach out community in large there by spreading my concerns.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A CITY OF FLEX - Review by Marta Jakimowicz

Re-flex, the latest project at Bar1 (February 11 to 25), furthered its understated yet quite extraordinary engagement with the city, its character reflecting the approach of Christoph Storz, or Estee Oarsed, whose European and Indian sides seemed to complement each other here as, within his stressing the collaborative process, the curator and theoretician of the event and a participant. 

Remaining an unobtrusive yet vital stimulant, more than a guide, for younger artists in a largely collective effort, he drew their attention once again to the humble qualities of an ordinary, if oppressive, aspect of urban reality for it to reveal some of the nature of this society, on the one hand, and, on the other, actual or subversive connections between the language of art and life. 

The focus was on the omnipresence of flex, the cheap, crudely slick and quick-decaying material for short-span, large-scale advertising which recycled as makeshift protection from the elements ignores the original messages. The artists were asked to refer to the normal practice and either print something on flex or re-use already printed sheets in their own ways in the expectation of appropriating or commenting on popular culture, its imagery, content and aesthetics and possibly interpreting the physicality and sculptural potential of two-dimensional flex to perhaps reflect on it as a novel art medium. 

Of the over twenty artists only a few directly addressed the physical condition of flex, the prime being Storz’s sagging wigwam, an older work now transformed in collaboration with hole-making rats, the fragility of his art bound to that of patterns of living. Whereas Shivaprasad S. with friends somewhat literally used flex to announce his documentary project and Sheela Gowda printed on it the raw innards of smashed advertising light boxes as evidence of socio-political vengeance, Oarsed again diverted the dominant iconography and hierarchy of political posters with their rows of heads and enlarged leader figures to bring out the underlying violent hypocrisy, all the more convincing against a collection of regular banners. 

Socio-political response prevailed elsewhere too, Alaka Rau P effectively turning recycled sheet-raincoats into emblems of humanity under advertisement deluge, and Mangala A M’s briefs paid sarcastic homage to the inert might of the bureaucrat. Spectacular as three-dimensional forms plying with surface flatness, the works of Biju Joze, V G Venugopal and Aishwaryan K were not immediately clear speaking about confiscation of flex by authorities, loudness of advertisements and politicians’ sham gestures. 

Suresh Kumar Gopalareddy and Dimple B Shah built complex, architectural environments evoking the position of farming metamorphosing and disappearing amid urbanisation and shabbiness of slums, while Prakash L and Anjana Kothamachu alluded to advertising images and words to denounce their environmental conscience and seductive power. Others took a more positive attitude to re-use the ugly material converting it into things of expressiveness, utility and beauty. 

If Charitha made umbrellas with her parents’ faces in half-shade, Suresh Kumar Gopalareddy embellished it with traditional beads, Smitha Cariappa, Archana Prasad and Meghana Rao had handbags and an apron stitched - elegant, poetically flimsy or mischievously juxtaposing existent figures, Mohammad Yunees and Ameer conjured a big scarecrow and tiny wind wheels, while Shiva Prasad K T, Mohan Kumar T and Urmila V G threaded bits of flex into alluring serpentine beings and a chandelier. 

Re-shaping aesthetic sides and fragments of printed flex for decorative and painterly abstract qualities, Chaitra Puthran, M G Kulkarni and Rakesh Kallur created unassumingly light works, whilst Ravi Shah took a simple, direct action painting and sculpting with the rough, flexible surface for tangible, valid discoveries. 

Display being inherently important to the collaborative endeavour, one appreciated the instances when original banners linked with the works referring to them, even though the expected dominance of vast faces as in the city space did not come through, its sporadic examples locating mutual enhancement beside the large equivalent by Shivaprasad S or opposite the glamorous female in Biju Joze’s piece. The much crowded, even invasive whole indeed captured and refigured some of the street reality while often connecting and contrasting individual works. 

Although the roughness and rawness of some pieces were adequate to the source of inspiration, one wondered why not so many of the participants wished to adopt and react to the overwhelming crudeness of the reality that holds its own expressiveness, preferring instead interpretations either dictated by distanced and frequently not evident commentary or by an aesthetised re-structuring that sometimes tended to depart too much from the inherent properties of the material. Such reservations notwithstanding, the exhibition was an exceptional eye opener.

Marta Jakimowicz, Feb 26, 2012

RE-FLEX - An essay about a new medium.

Re-flex, the latest project at Bar1 curated by Christoph Storz, or Estee Oarsed

Whether you like it or not, in recent years the banners and hoardings on vinyl, flex etc., are an integral part of the visual city. Bengaluru, with its lax regulations, is plastered with stretches of flex wherever you look. Put up for a short while, they catch your attention and then disappear again. Later the same flex may reappear in a less official role as protective covers against rain and dust. In this second life, the imagery on the material gets ignored. Features of local operators blown up to the size of statesmen might end up upside down, as covers for tempos, makeshift shacks and pushcarts. The second life flex authoritatively negates any pretence and come back into the world of things, where surface is just surface. 

The exhibition curated by Bar1/No Bars, artists and going-to-be artists responded to the public presence of flex and appropriated it in their own ways. 28 artists (Aishwaryan K, Alaka Rau P, Ameer, Anjana Kothamachu, Archana Prasad, Biju Joze, Chaitra Puthran, Charitha, Christoph Storz , Dimple B Shah, Estee Oarsed, Mohan Kumar T, Mangala A M, Meghana Rao, M G Kulkarni, Mohammed Yunees, Prakash L, Rakesh Kallur, Ravi Shah, Ravikumar S M Halli, Sheela Gowda, Shiva Prasad KT, Smitha Cariappa, Subramani J, Shivaprasad S, Suresh Kumar Gopalreddy, Urmila V G and VG Venugopal) were the artists who participated in the show from all over the Bangalore.

- Christoph Storz, or Estee Oarsed

From Left - Alka, Rau P, Dimple B Shah, Ravi Shah, Smitha Carriappa, Aishwaryan K, Biju Joze, Suresh Kumar Gopalreddy, Subramani J, Shivaprasad S, Ravikumar S M Halli, Mangala A M, Rakesh Kallur & Anjana K.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Milk, Melancholy & Me - Live Performance [Audio & Video] at Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bangalore, 2011

The wise man is not surprised by death
he is always ready to leave.
La Fontaine
This melancholic state is so powerful
that, according to scientists and doctors,
it can attract demons to the body,
even to such an extent
that one can get into mental confusion or get visions.

Milk, Melancholy & Me, the performance was based on my experience in Mumbai during 2003. The performance was supported by video which was shot in Mumbai at Marine Drive, Chopati Beach. The video in the performance was about my conversation with the sea and myself over the period of 6 months. The  conversation with the sea starts with overwhelming feeling of its greatness and vastness, later on the feeling narrows down to a point of nothingness of self in front of it. The video narrates ones journey in metro city where he/she is isolated in there own world with no trust and faith on anybody and fear of losing self identity and dreams. It talks about struggle of individual who come with big dreams and tries to fit into this big city, searching for his/her own space and owning it. It also talks of emotive aspect like coping up with loneliness and depression which is the byproduct of mega cities. In this video I have shot very few elements like sea, waves, buildings and reflection of lights on waves. The dancing night lights and play of it on the sea bring the melancholic flavor to the video. The constant sound of waves that symbolizes the heartbeat and existence of life, the play of light in the video represents dreams that afloat. In this whole video I have continuously showed only few elements to bring in the essence of time that I have spent.

The visual treatment was the conglomeration of audio, video & my performance. In audio  I was talking about my experience in Mumbai and my journey in the city, act of drawing on canvas (like mapping my journey) and painting my face with black color. During the performance I distributed black balloons to the audience on which I had written "I Am Here", both painting my face and black balloon symbolically representing the darkness within me. I used herbal resin incense [that is used in death rituals in general] since the element of smell was also important in my performance.

The core idea of my performance was to bring in the psychological state of mind of a person, who is in deep state of depression and in melancholic mood, who is in state of isolation and has lost all its positive power to fight back (symbolic to first stage of Alchemical process – Nigredo, this is very well explained by Carl Jung and interpreted Nigredo as the moment of maximum despair, that is a prerequisite to personal development. Nigredo is "The dark night of the soul". He says "Right at the beginning you meet the dragon, the Chthonic spirit, the devil or, as the alchemists called it "The Blackness", the Nigredo and this encounter produces suffering" It brings the ego into contact with what it fears).

The performance had both existential feeling and melancholic tone. This performance act is a healing process for me and to my audience. In audio there are two people talking one is doctor who hypnotizes his patient and the other voice is mine, who is the patient and takes the journey to the past. (This conversational format was sourced from psychotherapy session and psychoanalysis and expressed here as metaphor. A doctor usually lets the patient speak and listens without judgment, later offering gentle insights and suggestions. Sporadically there occur precious & magical ‘Frozen Moments’, named so by the Jungian therapist Beverly Zabirskie, when boundaries between the patient and the doctor dissolve and in their shared warmth immobilized random traumas of childhood melt away to enable mutual healing). I concluded my performance by the act of pouring milk on my face and this ritualistic act symbolized healing. I am thankful to Smitha Cariappa to give me an opportunity to perform.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Connecting with the city - Live Art 2011, The International Festival Of Art Performance

Live Art 2011, the international festival of art performance organized by Smitha Cariappa, our adept in the field, was a special event with workshops, presentations and theory. One appreciated her idea to introduce the still new here medium to the broad audience as well as the city to the foreign participants through works by young local artists along a stretch of Mission and Double Roads spanning the artists’ initiative spaces of Bar1, Jaaga and 1Shanthi Road (November 15). Moving on, referring to, questioning and engaging with the place and people, its actual life situations, ethos and behaviour, the artists established a tenuous and fleeting, yet often vital link with the chaotically revelatory dynamism of the surroundings. 

As such, it seemed to bridge the otherwise prevalent and unfortunate gap between artists and the locale. That the performances were simple, easily readable on the surface and sometimes visually striking, indeed attracted passers by, their responses ranging from plain curiosity or literal naivety to basic recognition, policemen’s bewildered doubt included. The day started on a median with Vasudev C in protective gear cleaning it in suggestive-symbolic gestures, after which nearby school children were directed to seriously paint Mangala’s large kite, while Sapna H S as a little girl was whistling shrilly in control of the traffic, her actions later helping the occurrences’ progression. 

A high-point of sensitive presence in gravity became Deepak D L, his body painted the road divider’s camouflage black and white, evoking a fragile center of calm and stability amid the noisy haste. Another focus was Dimple B Shah who on the side of a petrol station spread her ware of cheap healing perfumes, and attired in red robes, her face a telluric green, fascinated onlookers like an ancient ritualistic performer. A very rough, raw and disturbing but also tender piece came from Sushil Kumar, a senior Delhi artist, who circled under the garbage-strewn flyover to cross the road with his head under an old, heavy commode, indeed letting the viewers sense the burden of dirt we imbibe from around. 

As the night fell by the fuming, blaring junction, Mangala wearing an oxygen mask lit by a green torchlight dared the traffic and with ordinary-dramatic gestures confronted drivers letting both them and pedestrians intuit the mutual danger and suffocation. Whilst those contributions provided culmination points, numerous other happenings kept up the interrupted continuity gracefully or with a subtle kind of obviousness addressing issues of drinking water and trash (Pallem Yamini, Monica Nanjunda), personal confusion (Navya A), the fate of urban birds (Asha Rani N) and farmers (Subramanya), spirituality (Samir Paul) and psychology (Deepak and Venkatesh K N), undermining gender roles (Sapna as a fashionable panipuri seller) or proving resistance to the melee with slow-walking on the edge Raghu Wodeyar listening to music.

Whereas Nilesh S Dubrekar displayed a painting on the ground, Vasudev and team performed a surgery on a fruit cart vendor, its strategic placement on a tyre repair shop’s isle both gathering chance spectators and stimulating artists towards spontaneous fun ventures with available objects. The evening ended with a general mock-gun-battle and constant stair washing at 1Shanthi Road by Siri Devi, after a perhaps misguided effort of contemporary dancers (Jyotsna B Rao and Abhilash Ninjappa). A messily charming frame mapping the process was created by Suresh Kumar G R who followed everything leaving behind a trail of yellow paint drips.

Marta Jakimowicz

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