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.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Interdisciplinary Printmaking – Dimple B Shah


Interdisciplinary Printmaking – Get to know Dimple B Shah

Printmaker, Painter and Performance Artist

My journey in arts and performance evolved from my interest in traditional theater. During college days in 1995, I had participated in major production of plays, and worked with independent theater groups. This exposure helped me to gather thorough knowledge about the backstage and onstage work. I’ve learn about the history of theater in India and internationally. At this point I was planning to take up this medium and wanted to make my career in it, but I realized that my inclination was towards arts and various art forms. That led me to take fine arts as career.

After graduation in Commerce, I took a completely new direction and completed a Diploma in Painting and Visual Arts and then developed my deep interest in Graphic (Printmaking). In 2001 I completed my Post Diploma in Printmaking.

The urge to study more made me to apply for various scholarships and luckily I got Commonwealth Award and went to a nine months residency at Glasgow Print studio.

I worked in several residencies for seventeen years and gained immense experience. I have participated in various international collective exhibitions and print biennials and some of my works are held by Indian and International collectors.

I outline my art practise as multidisciplinary, as my art has evolved through practice in various medium like performance, printmaking and many others. In recent years my focus is to blend these medium of art into an interdisciplinary language.

To me performance and live art, as a medium of expression, involves elements of time and space of my subconscious impulses, with the same time frame; it fulfills the dual-purpose of engaging the body as a mean of communication and drawing audience response directly and instantly.

For the past two decades I developed my language of expression by merging and working independently in these medium, working live art performances, trying to build a community of artists based on public projects.

I have done roughly more than fifty performances, all over the world and in different cities in my country focusing socio-political and ecological concerns, relevant historical facts of different cities and women’s issues. All my performances served as a comprehensive study, dealing with social issues in a visual expression along with video installation.

Printmaking became one of the most suitable medium for me to unfold the complexities and issues that I address in my work. The process of building the work through juxtaposing or overlapping layers, can be mapped in the complex structure of socio-human issues addressed in my work. From the past few years my art work has focused in identifying “Self” both in macro and micro level.

My work can be summoned up as a process of metaphoric distillation and can be applied to all major areas of concerns and issues: socio- political, ecological, environmental, psychological & philosophical and existential.

As an individual part of a social structure, having to navigate through all socio-political repercussions and develop perspicacity on human related issues, having to cope with emotive response of alienation, insecurity and fear (products of our “Post Modern” era) the duality of exploration is reflected in the concepts underlying my prints as well as in performance works.

Catharsis, Purification, Purging, Healing, Filtration, condensation and extraction of Pure /Self are key elements in my works. The major areas of my concerns are humanitarian whether they are related to war, migration crimes, women or socio-political issues.

All these thoughts and ideas go through a distillation process (psychological or physical) such as curiosity, doubt and philosophical questioning. It starts with collecting the source and data, to extract a purified element out of it, and then all this goes in alchemical jar (metaphorically to mind and body) to extract the Essential (purified element) which helps one healing experience and catharsis.

My journey as an artist developed from philosophical questions and became more complex when I was exposed to reality of prevailing social structure, like the first-hand experience of 2002 Gujarat riots, in Baroda Gujarat, where men, women and children were brutally killed, tortured and their private parts cut open, burnt etc. This affected drastically my thinking process and as an emotive response I performed ‘Saffron Border’ in 2003 at Kanoria Art Center and Bangalore Kala Mela Festival.

As previously stated, I went to Glasgow print studio residency for nine month and after experiencing Glasgow I felt a hollowness void space in whole set up process. I turned toward my own roots, exploring both western and Indian alchemy, looking for answers, for healing and catharsis.

This residency was fruitful in evolving my perspective, presenting me the elements of healing and use of natural materials like milk, salt, turmeric ash etc.. That I still use. This residency led to my solo show at Glasgow Print studio – ‘Dichotomy Between and Body and Mind’ and later after three years with ‘Katharsis in Forbidden Zones’ which was about how one could achieve catharsis and also get healed, with installation, painting and video performance.

While I was developing my performance area I was simultaneously working on Printmaking and it was like a meditative performance. As I mentioned before, Printmaking has the ideal tools to bring various layers to the thinking process, through juxtaposing and overlapping, and I can add several dimension of thought in one complete picture.

This is the ongoing process of my research, to build a language and bring complex structure in a frame.

I am experimenting different techniques not commonly used together. My approach is usually multi plate photo etching and silkscreen. The main reason for liking these two mediums is because in these mediums there are more scope and possibility of working in detail and I can get the results with maximum precision. These mediums (etching and silkscreen) also give me the possibility to work in many colors, as many as 11 to 12 colors, and I can also use photographic and graphic images with intricate detailing.

I chose to specialize in printmaking because it involves innovative process of exploring the medium (e.g. creating multiple layers to structure the work) through a range of printing techniques such as silkscreen, photo-etching, offset and lithography. Also, making more than one original, through editions, answers my need of reaching wider audiences.

In my works the accidental quality is quite rare, my print works are usually preconceived ideas which come from preparatory paintings. To print I have to plan the plate making process thoroughly in order to get the exact result I have conceived. Lots of calculations on how many plates I am going to use, how it has to be worked technically, how many layers, colors and which images will be overlapped, are some major challenges while matching the image that I have conceived..

I really enjoy the combination of Painting, Printmaking & Performance. It really helps me to bring out my ideas into a different visual language. I feel the printmaking process as a ritual act because it requires immense focus and high level of discipline. I enjoy the challenge of preparing plates according to my requirements, with precision. It becomes both a challenge and a pleasure to mould zinc and iron plates by exploring all possibilities and techniques to get the results I want.

During my Master’s second year I had taken one big project for my final display. I wanted to make a print with 11 to 12 colors, so I prepared multiple plates as required with all possible techniques including aquatint, photo etching, gum bite etc.. When I printed the first proof (which was one laborious process of 3 hours of inking and wiping and top rolling the plates), I could not get the result I wanted and I took over 100 prints without succeeding.

I wanted to know what was wrong and analyzing the whole process I came across with one mistake, so I corrected that and then I get one of the best print till date. In this whole process I learned many things by making this particular project.

I work with various alchemical elements and essentials as the base to analyze different stages of purification.

The main concern in my work is to visually address issues of my subject “purification” and understanding how we achieve the idea/notion of Utopian land and Self. This idea is being visually worked with the help of references taken from old alchemical process. I am using old format to analyze, explore and understand our present day issues with contemporary language and modern perspective. I use images and text as metaphor, and they are juxtaposed to meet the requirements of the work. The images are inspired from various sources of my research on this subject mixed with my own ideas.

I have also used my own performance images in my works involving myself going into to the process of purification to understand it. The imagery that has evolved in my paintings is a combination of surreal and minimalist. Once, I have used directly copper etched plates with gold foils as part of one installation, instead of taking any print out of it. I would like to go beyond the boundaries of traditional printmaking and explore more possibilities.

In recent years I have been developing my works using all printing medium either it is woodcut, etching, silkscreen or lithography

The greatest difficulty for printmakers is having to depend on established Print Studios or have to own their setup for working. In India there are few studios where artist can go and work, and most of them are not updated with the latest facilities, usually they have just basic facilities and is difficult for artists to achieve desired results. Most of my photo etching plates are done outside from commercial block maker and are very expensive. Although I have worked in different printmaking studios still I have not been able to establish my own.

This article was written by Dimple B Shah and all images used were provided by her.

You can get to know her on her Facebook page.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The artist as a shaman - Echoes or Shamanism

The artist as a shaman - Echoes or Shamanism
24.09.2018 | REVIEW - Nadeche Remst

Performance event  curated by Nina Boas and Ieke Trinks ( organized by PAE Performance Art Event ) 

Dimple B Shah, photo: MADS Photographic
Is there a better way to understand shamanism than to experience it? In the weekend event Echoes of Shamanism organized by PAE (Performance Art Event) at Zone2Source, artists and thinkers bend about ideas about shamanism in contemporary art practice by having everyone experience it.

Dimple B. Shah from India asks the audience to stand outside in a circle, hand in hand, to feel the other's pulses with our eyes closed. She starts by squeezing the person next to her, after which the intention is that the gesture goes around the entire circle and returns to Shah herself. In the end no one comes back to her. She closes by giving a wipe of turmeric to everyone's right hand. Nobody understands exactly what this is for, but her credibility ensures that it is accepted accepting as something meaningful.
Dimple B Shah Photography Konstantin Guz
In the exhibition space Irina Birger shows her video work The Book of Happiness and Sadnesssee. In the video she leafs through her sketchbook, while she talks about her experience during an Ayahuasca ceremony, a centuries-old ritual in the Amazon, that serves as a medicine for body and soul. In a monologue Birger talks about this psychedelic experience, in which different themes seem to come back, such as relationships with others, but also themselves. In brightly colored drawings geometric structures can be seen that raise questions about femininity and emancipation, while she tells how men and women separated from each other in a ceremony. And you always hear her ask her questions about the inevitable dependence of the sexes: "It is necessary to realize that the mission is still needed," says the voice-over.
Jasper Griepink Photo: MADS Photographic
What the artists share is the belief in the possibility of human transformation

Irina Briger Photograhy by Konstantin Guz 
Birger's work is about the relationship between the individual and the collective, about belonging to a group such as during the Ayahuasca ceremony, which ultimately falls apart after experiencing the spiritual journey. There is social criticism in it. In recent years, undergoing such a ceremony has increased in popularity. The search for your inner self by immersing yourself in rituals and traditions of indigenous cultures is a beloved activity, after which everyone returns to the individualist, capitalist society. Such social criticism can also be seen in the work of Jasper Griepink, with his project Ultra Ecosexual Polyamory. Permaculture ASAP(2017) gives a utopian answer to the interaction between man and nature. In the accompanying spoken word manifesto he encourages man to deter the established order (the degenerative system of capitalism) by making love with nature. He wants to restore the relationship between man and nature and also develop a regenerative system that enables nature to be able to restore itself. At a time when it appears that human action is destructive for the earth, this seems more than necessary.

On Friday, when the emphasis is on contextualizing shamanism in performance art, with a closing lecture by philosopher Fons Elders, the most important element seems to be missing: the experience of the performances. The Saturday afternoon is planned for this, with sometimes simultaneous performances by Irina Birger, Jasper Griepink, Kleoni Manoussakis, Dimple B Shah and Akuzuru Tala. As a visitor you become whether you want to or not on the path to transformation and emotional purification. In the Glass House of Zone2Source also installations by Jasper Griepink, Dimple B. Shah and Akuzuru Tala can be seen, which are (or will be) part of the performances. Irina Birger's office setting also looks like an installation, where a screen shows the continuous animation Ouroboros or What's Eating You(2016) shows - which Birger developed during her residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin for the series TOTALITARIAN (2017). Ouroboros is the Greek word for tail-eater: a snake that eats its own tail, creating an infinite circle, an age-old mythical symbol for infinity, as a metaphor for the human condition.

Irina Birger invites the visitors to take a seat in front of her. She talks to you for ten to fifteen minutes, where she almost acts as a therapist, asking about your personal frustrations. In the meantime Birger intuitively draws with chalk on a black A4 sheet, which later on the glass wall allows a series to be formed - as a representation of the diversity of individuals.

A completely white appearance appears between the green branches of a pine. Jasper Griepink moves gracefully through the man made city park. He plays with the branches and rubs them against his body in a sexual manner. I hear a child respond: "And I also hear a nice song!" This is in contrast to the strange looks he gets from people who happen to be walking through the park.
In the accompanying spoken word manifesto, Griepink urges people to deter the established order (the degenerative system of capitalism) by making love with nature.

Dimple B Shah Photography by Konstantin Guz 
Dimple B. Shah created in the dark exhibition space of the Glass House a performance called Negotiating Purity - Albedo (Encoutering Catharsis) , with rituals from Jainism . I end up in an area stunned by incense, where Shah has installed her tent wrapped in white cloth. Visitors are given the opportunity to experience a ritualistic process by sitting in the tent opposite her. The emphasis here is on the involvement of all five senses. She concludes with the request to make a figure from the side-by-side heaps of rice, as a step towards catharsis .

 Akuzuru, photo: MADS Photographic
The highlight is how Akuzuru Tala, A kuzuru, allows the visitor to experience a process of transformation. The artist from Trinidad and Tobago does not leave her inspiration of the Carnivals unnoticed. With the suit she wears and the sculptural white mask she becomes part of the installation in which she moves, makes charcoal figures, hits glass vials, sticks with sticks against sticks, while making experimental noises. Eventually she cuts loose from her installation and then keeps a procession out.

Echoes or Shamanism exudes a certain optimism, something that is not unimportant at the time of ubiquitous gloom about the developments in the Anthropocene. Not everyone seems to be ready to make love with nature, but in a kind of trance they leave the Amstelpark.

Echoes of Shamanism , organized by PAE (Performance Art Event), Zone2Source, 14 - 16 September 2018, with Irina Birger, Jasper Griepink, Kleoni Manoussakis, Dimple B Shah, A kuzuru and Fons Elders.

Nadeche Remst
is a trainee at Metropolis M

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