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Jarred by digital drama

art and culture Updated: Sep 04, 2013 10:36 IST
Aakriti Sawhney
Aakriti Sawhney
Hindustan Times
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Delhi-based artist Suchitra Gahlot, 36, has had no formal training in art but she feels that she was connected to art in some way or the other, right from her childhood. She debuted in 2009 with an art installation, titled, One Thousand Tears at the India Art Fair.

For this installation, Gahlot, through a network of friends questioned around 1,000 people, asking, “Why Did You Cry Last?” and their one word replies were then labelled onto thousand small vials, which were filled with a saline solution that matched the exact composition of human tears. “Through my works, I document and address emotions,” says Gahlot, who opens her solo show in the Capital today at Alliance Française. Titled, Shut Up, Internet!, the show has one large installation addressing the artist’s struggle with the world of internet. “The installation is a manifestation of a digital addiction that I have always wanted to control but never managed. I don’t resent the internet but I do despair when I find myself enslaved to it.”

Presented by Gallery Shrine Empire, the installation sees 60 pharmaceutical jars hanging from the ceiling of the gallery. These jars are filled with forty thousand personal emails of Gahlot’s, dating 1995 till date. These mails are scripted on red papers that are torn to pieces. But the real drama lies in the mechanism of how this installation works. Gahlot explains, “Each jar’s lid has a small fan underneath, which creates a controlled turbulence within the jars. It is programmed to stop and start.” As a viewer, for a brief few seconds, when the turbulence stops you are able to catch glimpses of notes, a word here or there before it starts again.

“Visual and texts play a significant role in my works,” says Gahlot who experiments with a lot of unconventional media. One of her previous work, titled, When You Leave Me, saw her using silk, velvet, glass and steel. Another work, Discomfort, was a video installation with five short films document people using their wrong hand to do everyday things. “The feelings I articulate are mostly universal,” she says.

Catch it live
What: Shut Up, Internet! An art show
Where: Alliance Française, 72, Lodi Estate
On Till: September 4. The show continues at Gallery Shrine Empire till October 5
Timings: 11 am to 7pm
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