A sculpture of a nude female is set on fire in a small pool of water while the artist standing next to it recites a self-composed poem. This is a scene from world renowned sculptor Blake Ward’s performance art, titled, The Burning Buddha, which will be part of Ward’s first ever exhibition in India.
Titled, Fragments, the exhibition will be on for two days (March 17 and 18) at Jstudio and will continue at India International Centre in the Capital. Both the venues will see a series of 10 deconstructed bronze sculptures by Blake. “All the sculptures in the series have been deliberately disfigured to draw attention to the issue of landmines. Limbs have been torn off and flesh ripped apart,” says the artist, who is often quoted as an art activist.
This series of sculptures were completed by Ward in the year 2006 and have been on tour since 2007 in places such as London, New York, Monaco, Cambodia and Singapore. “I have exhibited these sculptures not only as art, but also to raise awareness. I am proud to bring them to India.”
Talking about The Burning Buddha act, Ward says, “The act is meant to provoke people. It asks the viewer to think about and question the larger social issue. I performed this as street art in Toronto in 2010 for Nuit Blanche and it was well received.”
Blake, who is visiting Delhi for the second time, finds the city quite dynamic. “It’s good to be a part of it. I am fortunate to be staying near Lodhi Gardens and Habitat Centre. There is always a lot going on in this neighbourhood,” he says.
At Jstudio, Ward will be exhibiting his works with Jasleen Singh Mehta, an Indian born New York-based artist. Singh will be exhibiting oil paintings from her two series titled, Nuclear Age and Search for the Inner Goddess. Both the series were created in the late 80s and early 90s. “I saw Blake’s work three years ago, but it was only last year that I met him and decided on this exhibition. It was so nice to know that an artist from a different part of the world, with completely different sensibilities, was working on something so similar to what I was working on (taking up social issues through art),” she says.
What: Fragments, an art show
When: March 17 and 18 at Jstudio, Indigo Estate, 23, Ansal Palam Farms, Bijwasan (1 pm to 9pm) and March 20 — 27 at India International Centre, 40, Max Mueller Marg. (11am to 7pm)