Art review

Art review

 Surekha, detail from video ''Lake Tales.''Nature in the city – uneasily

One should appreciate the authenticity of the concern here and the compulsion to engage directly with actual issues, especially when regarding rural life.

Hence, one understands the role of documenting those as the foundation of the work. Indeed, the sheer weight of the organic and human condition would perhaps ask for that, even for an activist-like approach.

Nevertheless, whatever means be used in an art work, those have to create a heightened experience-cum-sensation of things that would reach beyond data, and at this point problems arose.

The ideas behind the show and the specific pieces may have been wonderful including the wish to centre all the contributions round the video reflecting the raw status of the site, but they often remained at the literal plane or without sufficiently binding information and evocativeness. Perhaps one should wait for the comparatively new approach to evolve.

Whereas Surekha’s single print with her back seen atop a sorely fresh earth rampart with residues of greenery above was very expressive in a subdued manner, the main video did not quite connect-transpose the separate passages of fine, fairly classical, atmospheric scenery, also dead fish and the maybe deliberately pedestrian documentary images of fences and interviews with officials protecting the lake in ways that clash with traditional ones and with villagers who have lost their farmlands and familiar access to nature.

While an ornithologist there spoke about the departure of migratory birds from the altered environment and about local ones gradually adjusting to it, Kushal Kumar’s installation with a video in an oversize nest housing a cell-phone rather gracefully dealt with Bangalore’s sparrows scared away by radiation yet returning to an uneasy coexistence with urbanity. That discomfort partly overcome by vitality underscored the other efforts.

If Naganagowda Patil’s miniaturised rustic implements and animals referred effectively but too pleasantly to the irrelevance of old village routines, the joint installation trying to metamorphose the bathroom into an artificial landscape did not convince, as did not the naïve drawings and notes on snakes by Chaitra Puthran and the sophisticated aquarium of Deepak R which was just that despite the fancy floating plants, etc.

Whist there was a gap between the significance-bearing motifs and the lack of expressiveness there, one was truly taken by the sound work of Deepak D L Emerging from under a heap of rubbish, it layered and transformed real sounds of construction from the lake area and natural ones, like the wind, over the traffic noises from the street, to conjure a rough-sensitive rhythm in which one could intuit the shaping in the coexistence of the organic and urban worlds.

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