There is artwork strewn about on the floor of Sakshi Gallery. In the middle of it sits artist Remen Chopra Vdv (35), clad in a no-fuss grey top and slate grey trousers. She’s sketching patterns on paper. Works on paper, photographs, glass panels — they make up the different layers of Chopra’s works, which she typically finishes on site.
Lying close by is a black-and-white work — a two-dimensional glass installation that juxtaposes photos and sketches of women standing, gesturing, lying down and reading. The characters look like they’ve been caught mid-motion, and while some of them are sharp and prominent, others look like apparitions. The backdrop is formed by the façade of Italian heritage buildings. The work denotes the passage of time.
Eight artworks in all make up the exhibition called Feel. The title is an indication of what Chopra aims to do: make you experience an alternate reality, bring about an inner awakening and explore what makes art appealing. The common thread that connects the works is symmetry, whether depicted through the linear passage of time, of language, geometry or the masculine-feminine balance.
Chopra says she’s on a mission to evoke an inner Renaissance. Just as the Renaissance (14th-17th century) in Europe led to a celebration of beauty and rational thinking, Chopra aims to make viewers aware of what it is that makes an object or a work of art appealing.
To achieve that, she has incorporated the golden ratio or the divine ratio principle (a special number of 1.1618) that is believed to make works aesthetically pleasing. The ratio, which you may have also read about in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, is associated with masterpieces by artist Leonardo da Vinci, compositions by Bach, and mathematical theorems by Pythagoras, and even in the proportions of the human DNA.
“Symmetry has a lot of resonance. I want to explore whether we find works timeless and beautiful because of mathematical factors, or because we have the same collective unconscious. We may be different bodies but we are all connected, streaming the same consciousness,” she says.
For the dreamlike imagery, she has tapped into her practice of Sahej Yoga meditation. Chopra also turns to black-and-white classics by Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini and Russian legend Andrei Tarkovsky for guidance on technique.
Method behind the art
Though Chopra is finishing her works on site, the behind-the-scenes process of getting all the elements together has taken her almost a year-and-a-half. The complex process sees Chopra shoot actors in a theatrical staging, followed by sketching on paper using pencils, watercolour, acrylic, gouche and charcoal. She screen prints certain patterns or symbols on glass panels.
Ultimately, the panels and sheets are placed one atop the other in a certain angle, and light boxes are used to illuminate the creation. Chopra admits that she has always chosen to create works that are layered — in terms of the construction and what they say. “To be able to express multiple streams of thought, I need to work in layers,” she explains.
Know the artist
Chopra was raised in Delhi and Kolkata. She shifted to Mumbai two years ago. Trained in multiple disciplines, she has a master’s degree in painting from the College of Art, New Delhi; studied art history (including the Italian Renaissance artists whose works influence her art) and language in Siena, through an Italian Cultural Exchange Program; and has a diploma in photography from the School of Phototechnic, New Delhi.
What: Feel will be on display from December 10 to January 10, from 11am to 6pm
Where: Sakshi Gallery, Grants Building, Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba.
Call: 6610 3424