Art review

Art review

Home within organic pulses

Srinivasa Prasad has made a significant place for himself creating intense sculptures, installations and environments rooted in archaic existential rhythms, processes and cycles, in the emotive potential of organic substances and rustic objects of daily use that hold rudimentary, ritualistic qualities reflected in a performative involvement with them by the artist.

For the past few years he has worked, on the one hand, with the image of the human journey through life as a migrant’s cart laden with domestic possessions and, on the other, with the comparison of a transitory, comfortable yet fragile home to a bird’s nest.
His current exhibition at Galleryske (September 17 to October 22), “Nirantara” – continuous, literally without an intermediary space or closure, threads together and deepens both those aspects of human habitations that are made by hand from recycled materials in ways participating in the ever transformative organic phenomena, while the accent is now on sheltering and solace-providing. Once again, the not so large gallery rooms have been used not just to exhibit art but to let their spaces become an integral part of the sculptural installations enhancing their impact.

The photographic pieces at the entrance introduce the show pointing to the main elements of Srinivas’s preoccupation and to its sources.

A series of slides from his earlier site-specific engagements offers images of homes as natural growth between stone, soil, vegetation and foliage suggesting also that the artist’s presence in the work is as essential as that of the viewer-entrant. There is graceful vibrancy and an ominous tone in the print pairs with a barren tree where a house of dry leaves falls apart and a clay boat-home floats on water that eventually absorbs remnants of the liquid on the parched ground. Moving towards the chief works, one instantly comes face to face with “Usiru”, or breath - a vast, boulder-like mass as if sprouting from the floor, bulging and rounding up, whose immediacy becomes absorbed with a compact blend of physical sensation and intuitive, yet strong feeling. Its surface of rough-textured, brown paper pulp seems to belong to earth and cow-dung.

An opening in the volume lets one look into a mutedly lit tunnel, gentle wind blowing into one’s eyes. Invisible on the outside, it makes one sense the comfort possible only in a domestic refuge. Only the little flag fluttering at its end confuses as to whether its reference is specific, sacral or political. An insight into things basic, simple and fine arises on being surrounded by, immersed in a large hall filled with a piled up crowd of hexagonal balls of newspaper, as “Routine” exudes our happy, generous gathering of paraphernalia of domesticity that can flood us.

“Rebirth” is another recycled, vulnerable and temporary home, like a tent mounted high on a stack of jute sacks, its walls, curving roof, open windows and bed of coarse jute acquiring a festive lightness and intimate, almost sensual joy. Perhaps only the “Igloo”, although conveying gay, protective warmth thanks to being covered by ample utensils dressed in bright, used fabrics, does not have the same profundity. On the whole, it is quite wonderful that the works, avoiding cleverness or statement, generate profound recognitions from sheer sensation.

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