• ‘SYNAESTHESIS’ – Episode 4 of ‘RACONTEURS’ | Kolkata, India

    'SYNAESTHESIS' is Prasanta Ghosh's contribution to the Group Visual Arts Project 'RACONTEURS', which recently ended at the A.M. Studio in Kolkata, India.  Here he addresses death in relation to privacy, or the loss-there-of, and the life of those whose job is to deal with death on a daily basis.

     

    Dead People Do Not Have Any Privacy:

    'Synaesthesis' images on display at RACONTEURS exhibition

    ‘Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves,
    and thereby express themselves selectively. The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ
    among cultures and individuals, but share common themes. When something is private to a person,
    it usually means that something is inherently special or sensitive to them. The domain of privacy partially
    overlaps security (confidentiality), which can include the concepts of appropriate use, as well as
    protection of information. Privacy may also take the form of bodily integrity.’
       (Wikipedia)

     

    In this work I have developed a story by translating my experiences, personal encounters and incidents going down the memory lanes.  This work is a reflection of an incident, which I encountered personally. At that point in time many questions were in my mind: as soon as people die, do they lose all their privacy? Or does anybody get permission to access their privacy? I do not believe in the life after death, but the person standing beside me may believe in it. This work can therefore also be seen as the reflection of the thoughts of the person beside me.

    'Synaesthesis'  (click on the image to enlarge it, or click here to have a good view of the individual images.)

    The source of this work is a personal experience in a crematorium. Some days back one of my relatives passed away. We took her to the crematorium. There she was laid down on a wooden panel, which is commonly used. In the next step, her corpse would be put inside the furnace.

    Experiencing the details of this event left a huge impact in my mind. This relative of mine was a private person. Her privacy was protected within the boundaries of her family. But on that fateful day, her husband was lamenting and disclosing many private memories regarding her life in front of all those who were present at the crematorium. I was staring at him blankly and could not even utter a single word. Then suddenly something stroke my mind, and I was wondering if just because she was dead, her privacy was there no more?

    'Synaesthesis' and 'Unsaid' on display at RACONTEURS exhibition

    I thought to look deep into the matter, so I went around to hear the conversations of many other family members who were present at the event just described, and I realized that, yes, it was the same conversation happening all around: family members, relatives and friends talking about all the different interests and private memories of the person whom they had lost. How strange……

    I have conceptualized the story as the thought of the person next to me who believes in life after death. The word ‘PRIVACY’ is used here in the context that whatever the dead people are doing after their death, nothing is concealed of their private lives, which seemed to happen when they were alive. Maybe after death the reconstruction of their lives changes, and a new series of life seems to develop. In this story it is seen that the dead people have got the license to go anywhere in between people and in their private space.

     

    Who takes care of dead bodies?

    I believe that walking through a crematorium is really a tough thing to do for each and every human being. Throughout the air is always a heavy hearted feeling. I think that this is the only place where no humans will come by their choice. But is this true for everyone? I don’t think so. There are many such people among us who go there by choice and do all the needful duties that a crematorium requires, in spite of being marginalized from the so called ‘civilized society’.

    Image of the entrance to Keoratala crematorium

    I went to Keoratala crematorium the day I was working on my book ‘Dead people does not have any privacy…’ in order to explore the place more, and to meet the people who work there. While talking to the crematorium workers, I found that many of the things I felt are really ‘unsaid’, not spoken of. I asked some questions to them, to understand the psychological aspect of that job, but when they replied to my questions I became aware of many more things which I felt were important.

    I asked whether dealing regularly with so many dead bodies affected their mind, and I was surprised to hear their answer, that except in particular cases, the dead bodies do no affect them. They are habituated to regularly deal with it, and the dead bodies have become non-living objects for them. They spoke about the history of the place, spoke about their job, spoke about their identity and how this identity distinguishes and separates them from the so called ‘civilized society’. They spoke about their families, spoke about their activities of regular life.

    'Unsaid' (click on the image to enlarge it, or click here to have a good view of the individual images.)

    I think that many of us in our society are unaware of the things that the crematorium workers talked about, of the words that they spoke. Maybe people do not take interest in their lives as they are marginalized from the rest of society and  are considered in the same category as that of the stray animal on the road. On hearing the words of Raju Mallick, who said that they do not have any emotions left with them and everything has dried out from within their soul, I realized that they would like to live a normal life, but they are bound by their duties. Sometimes I wonder if they are really living, or being bound by society to live as they do, with constant burning smell all around. Some of them see this work as their needful duty, but for some it has become a curse of their life. After our conversations I realized how strange that those people who used to curse them while living, those same people are being handled by them when they are dead.

  • ‘INSCRIPTIONS’ – Episode 3 of ‘RACONTEURS’ | Kolkata, India

    'Inscriptions' is Soma Bhowmik's contribution to the Group Visual Arts Project 'RACONTEURS', currently taking place at the A.M. Studio in Kolkata, India. As an art critic and art historian, she compares here the production of texts to the production of visual works, and in a very interesting reversal of roles, instead of using written texts in order to explain visual works, she uses images in support of the written texts.

     

     

    The main idea of this show is to attempt at showcasing various categories of texts that emerged in the course of my practice as a curator, art-critic and art-historian. And through these texts I wish to convey the process and the procedure followed to reach an understanding of the projects which are entirely visual as its main content.

    Visual artists play with multiple layers of explorations and experiments before reaching the final execution. Theoretical process too follows exactly a similar path before arriving at a convincing stage. That is one of the reasons why we tried to share the process of curating any show by displaying the layout or plan directly.

     

    In this show display of supporting images related to particular articles tries to explain the various texts; it may be a research-thesis or a review or article. By creating variations in the display of the text-image materials we have tried to create an ambience with a visual approach. Simply speaking, we wanted to make the textual matter a part of the visual ambience.

     

    I believe an art historian should always practice some practical works to understand the visual language very intensely. It is true that visual communication has directness; but when one writes a text other visuals and references also get evoked, thus enriching our experience of formulating a text. Communication is vital to any material always.

     

     

     

  • ‘DEFINING RELATIVE SPACE’ – Episode 2 of ‘RACONTEURS’ | Kolkata, India

    'Defining Relative Space' is Jayeti Battacharya's contribution to the Group Visual Arts Project 'RACONTEURS', currently taking place at the A.M. Studio in Kolkata, India. She addresses here the concept of 'home', charged with connotations and references to both physical and psychological realities.

     

    Jayeti Bhattacharya: 'Folded Boundaries'.

    ‘Home’ is a multidimensional concept and acknowledges for the presence and need for multidisciplinary research in the field. It raises the question whether home is a place, a set of feelings, practices, or an active state of ‘being in the world’.

    Jayeti Bhattacharya: 'Contructing Void'.

    While memories of home are often nostalgic and sentimental, home is not simply recalled or experienced in positive ways. Home centrally touches our personal life.

    In this set of works about ‘home’, structure, space, time, object, boundaries, and restrictions play a vital role. Fragmentation of known space, fragmentation of known objects, and how, with time, these objects fade away from us, play a vital role in my work.

    Sometimes the questions arises to my mind, ‘Is home a place, a space, feelings, practices, or an active state of being in the world?’ It is variously described as conflated with or related to house, family, heaven, self, gender, and journey.

    Jayeti Bhattacharya: 'Incision'.

    The fragile human life leaves certain sensitivities behind, captive inside the concrete structure of our private space. We live in the so-called concrete life with structured objects and structured spaces binding our limitations. I feel sometimes that when our presence fades away, our senses remain embedded in these concrete structures, and in the process of time these objects also desaturate our presence.

    Embracing the memories and spaces that hold the origin of my personal identity is reflected in these works. Revisiting the past through memory lane and reconstructing the privacy through the world of uncanny imaginations seems to be happening over here again. The thoughts and images are collaged in the same plane to form a meaningful shape of it.

    Jayeti Battacharya, left, with two friends at the opening of her show.

    While being in the process of work, I feel like a virtuous space is created within my work with the objects of real space around me, and these objects carry the experience of their regular life, and how they develop an intimate relationship with humans around them.

    In this series I worked mainly with the known objects of my personal space, using my home and the mud collected from within the boundary of my house. The mud creates a relation of my land roots to the space where I grew up. My work revolves around the questions of how the private space is affected by social norms and how our presence fades away from these objects over the passage of time.

    A visitor looking at 'Severence' on the opening night.

    A relation without bindings, a relation without any compulsion, a relation of no charms, a relation of equality plays a vital role here. These sentiments are important in the growing up years of every human mind. I feel somehow we are losing the essence of life in today’s work. Displacement does occur with time. It is the thought that kept coming to my mind while doing this series of work. Whether it is displacement of thought, physical displacement or emotional displacement, each of it is related to the growth of time and space around which we live.

     

  • ‘DESIGN THINKING SHOWROOM’ | Sevilla, Spain

    A few glimpses into the Art Department of the University of Sevilla, Spain, where some students, who participated in the first phase of the project 'Design Thinking in Higher Education', are showing their works. 

    The Center for Cultural Initiatives, University of Sevilla, hosted a 'showroom' at the conclusion of the first phase of the pioneering educational innovation project 'Design Thinking in Higher Education'. The project has been funded under the 'Own Teaching Plan' of the University of Sevilla and is being carried out during this academic year, 2017-2018.

    Nearly five hundred students, of which forty are international students on the Erasmus scholarship, from twelve different nationalities, participated in the interdisciplinary project, which involved professors in the fields of linguistics, pedagogy, engineering, building, fine arts and communication.

    On the day of the 'Showroom' 40 different academic initiatives, made by teams of students, were presented by their authors In various formats: oral presentations as 'TED Talk moments', videos, posters, and works of visual art.

    Ramon Blanco Barrera (center) with some of his students on the day of the exhibition.

    We highlight here the works by some students from the class of 233 (Ramon Blanco Barrera), professor in training and PhD candidate, and a few words from Ramon about his experience in applying the 'Design Thinking' methodology:

    "The approach that I took to my art classes, "Representation Systems" and "Anatomy and morphology", was that the students were to be driven by what they felt passionate about; this is what I believe can really make them grow. The class was very open, there were no limitations, and each student ended up doing what they felt was right, what they thought could inspire the world, and improve it in some way...

    #DTshowUS (Design Thinking Show, University of Seville) has been an amazing event where students and professors from the University of Sevilla joined together to show their works, but also to learn about and to experience the various art projects presented. It was the culmination of a long process of hard work, and a beautiful experience.

    We encourage artists, students and professors from all over the world to jump, fly and dream about their projects. Because when any human being is inspired and motivated by his/her passion, everything is possible and a better world can be a reality.

    We, as society, can do better, so let’s do it!"

     


    Claudia Calvo

     

     ‘Souvenirs d'un autre monde’ is a song that inspired this project. This song immerses us in nature and new enviromnments, which I have always been very in-tune with. The artworks belong to a peronal diary that is still unfinished   and evolving. I would like to thank 233 (Ramon Blanco-Barrera) for offering me the opportunity to exhibit. Without him, it would not have been possible.


    Beatriz Rodríguez

     

    "Involution" consists of an anatomical investigation that precedes a book on which I'm working on, and whose characters evolve in both Mars and a postnuclear Earth.
    This investigation takes part in an ambitious project which is based on science, imagination and psychology, wanting to break molds and shapes that tie us down and force us to disengage our minds from several different branches of knowledge we are not specialized in.


    Laura Rastrollo

     

    Artist and Youtuber, Laura Rastrollo's project for this exhibition is a small work made with recycled materials, 'Rehusilla'. The interviews to her fellow artist companions on their experience  with 'Design Thinking' are also her contribution.

    To watch all of the interviews click here.

     


    Pepe Becerra

     

    "Anatomía musical" is a three‑part Project that puts together human anatomy and music. The posters – on the photo ‑ show the most important body parts when singing. Later, in a talk, a comparison between song‑writing and the human body is made. Finally, there is a performance of an original song that puts into practice the concepts shown on the posters.

     

    Watch the performance below:

     

  • ‘Still Life & Beyond’ | Kolkata, India

    A group exhibition in Kolkata, which explores what lies beyond 'still life'... 

     

    Several artists who took part in the international exhibition 'Translations - Kolkata', which was curated by Samindranath Majumdar in collaboration with Emergent Art Space in 2016, were reunited again in 'Still Life & Beyond', which was shown at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata, between the 23rd and the 29th of January, 2018.

    'Holocaust Memory' by Mithun Das [wood, aluminum sheet, nail, iron]
    'For the Urgency of Thinking' by Aryama Pal [mixed media on Nepali handmade paper]
    Samindranath Majumdar, artist, curator, and art teacher, presented here the works of a group of his former students at The Indian College of Art and Draftmanship, young artists who are still receiving from him inspiration and guidance

    Abhijit Alder, Arpan Ghosh, Aryama Pal, Debajyoti Das, Debashri Gupta, Jayeti Bhattacharaya, Mithun Das, Prasanta Ghosh, Sampurna Naskar, Sumit Sarkar and Suresh Kumar Singha explored for this show what lies beyond the still life painting genre, the infinite possibilities of figurative art that moves beyond representation, exploring the metaphorical, the symbolic, and the tensions inherent in every representation of reality.

    ‘The Man-Made Subject’ by Jayeti Battacharya [mixed media on acid free paper]
    ‘The Robot’ by Arpan Ghosh [collage and mixed media on paper]

    Samindranath explains in his curatorial statement,

    "it is the word 'beyond' in the exhibition title that opens up a space of interesting and enigmatic possibilities.... There is no attempt whatsoever to paint objects carefully composed on a tabletop with lustrous folds of drapery in the background; in other words, there is no discernible loyalty to what is still ideally considered to be still life in the strict academic sense... In the aspect of teaching, art still has a colonial hangover. Before the British, people used to paint from imagination and memory, but the British taught us to paint by seeing and copying, and that has remained...The young artists [in this exhibition] have taken the autonomy to build narratives of their own by arranging, creating and composing forms as signifiers. An undernote of unmistakable contemporaneity is discernibly present in all the works, with all the directional pluralities that our times have opened up for us."

    'The Soft Coil' by Sumit Sarkar [acrylic on canvas]
    'Dropping Life' by Prasanta Ghosh [mixed media on canvas]
    Samindranath curated 'Still Life & Beyond' exhibiting the works by his former students, and in turn dedicated it to his former teacher, Sri Partha Pratim Deb, In a meaningful gesture that not only reminds us all the crucial role teachers and mentors play in our life, but that makes also visible the fertile relationship in the art realm between mentor and mentee, be it expressed in continuity or in break and separation.

     

    You can view here the online catalog of the exhibition:  161924798-still life & beyond_web


    'Still Life & Beyond' was reviewed by Shaswata Kundu Chaudhuri in the English edition of 'Marquee', on February 3rd:
     http://epaper.thestatesman.com/c/25942134

     

    'Untitled' by Debashri Gupta [mixed media on canvas]

     

     

  • Featured Event: FRIDGE Group Exhibition | London, England

    'FRIDGE', heating up the art world!

    In mid-December 2017 a team of nine international artists from the Masters of Fine Arts program at Chelsea College of Arts...

    Entrance to the 'Fridge' exhibition, Seven Sisters, London

    ... joined by a guest underground artist from the local community, took over a debilitated refrigeration unit and transformed it into an art exhibition. FRIDGE, opened for one night only in Seven Sisters, North London on the 12th of December, was a creative project within which the artists re-appropriated an abandoned building, bringing it back to life.

    It all started when the group, consisting of British, European and International artists, came together to accomplish a “live project”, a project that would situate their practice in London, aimed at the city’s art scene audience. The space, fittingly nicked named FRIDGE and known for its illegal parties over the summer of 2017 within the London underground rave scene, was offered to the artists as an experiment to elevate the underlying ethos to something more intrinsically creative.

    The vast, abandoned ice-cream fridge turned into exhibition space in North London wasn’t without its challenges. Already contained within the FRIDGE were a number of installation-based and decorative artworks from parties and festivals in the past. Each artist was free to interact with the artworks and the space as an extension of their own artwork, creating a new amalgamated fusion born of appropriation and spatial interaction.
    Battling refuse, debris, the cold, the dark and the intermittent erratic electrical supply, each artist integrated their work creating unique, site specific, creative responses.

     

     

     

    Irene Pouliassi, using an abandoned shadow dance booth, projected a video art piece that aimed to create awkward feelings as it illustrated a mouth being forced to eat and chewing human teeth, dealing with issues of identity and death.

     

     

     

     

     

    Blair Zaye’s 'Insitu Series - Stream Of Consciousness #1’ video included a projection mapped into the corner, shrouded with a translucent tarpaulin imbued with words and symbols created during a live performance a few weeks prior. This provided an ephemeral, liminal space for the viewer to become immersed in. Contained within the video is a cross over among art forms - painting becomes installation, installation becomes ritual performance, performance becomes video, video becomes live stream. The words and text are set to enlighten and awaken the viewer, an attempt to instill a type of esoteric knowledge, shedding light on that which is contained within.

     

     

     

    Weicung Lu displayed three sculptures of marine life, placed in used kitchenware with twinkling lights. It’s what people usually have in a fridge, transformed in a way to be more monumental by the artist.

     

     

     

     

     

    Annabel Ludovici Gray, working towards a piece for this short-lived show in a unique setting, said that impact and quick installation were concerns, given a three-hour show with limited access. Site-specificity and spontaneity of location focused her energy and physical agility. The resulting ‘Tower’ was a one-time temporal piece measuring 8’, composed of discarded empty cardboard boxes stacked irregularly to the point of collapse, displaying instability. ‘Tower’ related to the local community in which the FRIDGE is housed, referencing homelessness and vulnerability - represented as a temporary shelter, lightweight and transportable to the point of impermeability.

     

     

     

     

    Gardenia White stated that this exhibition was an excellent opportunity because, in addition to a display of collected works of art from different art styles and ideas in one single show, it turned an abandoned place into an art show. Gardenia showed a piece of work made of canvas burned strips. Each one of them had been burned from their edges, as well as from inside. This work is a manifestation of all innocent souls that are driven by violence or war. The white canvas presents the purity of innocence, while the hole made from burning shows the absence of these souls. The artist wanted to make this work as a memorial to the innocent lives of victims of the war in Iraq, as well as victims of the bombings in London, Paris, Manchester and any place around the world that has been hit by violence. This work ‘Purity’ hangs down loosely from wall to floor in strips 320cm long by 16cm width.

     

     

     

     

    Esra Vazirally aimed to create a piece that seemed like it came with the FRIDGE. The materials that are used, canvas, pigmented inks and acrylics, are framed by ever‐changing L.E.D. lights. “The piece was created by throwing and moving the canvas whilst it was wet around the studio. The bright colors and pigments of the canvas came about in connection to my Indian roots, by bringing the traditions of Holi, the festival of color and spring, whilst also bringing a bit of consumerism by adding the LED lights.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Robin Woodward: “Working on finding what it is to be human, how the body copes under stress and wether I, as a human, could self-institutionalize myself into a different state of being.” 'Clay Head' sees the artist fold and mold a block of terracotta clay around his head. He starts by leaving the clay to sit in position so as to mold itself. He then starts to manipulate the clay removing his ability to see and breath. The body reacts to these conditions to become something further, a fight or flight situation. The body is transformed into a being not represented as the artist. Themes appear within the atemporal sculpture such as self-harm, torture, and themes of horror, manipulation and play.

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