I — An Exploration of the Self: The motive is to turn art gallery into an introspective space
As a spectator, one’s role at an art exhibition is limited to viewing the works and absorbing the underlying meaning. However, a week-long showcase in New Delhi, titled I — An Exploration of the Self, is more about engaging the audience. In curator Karan Talwar’s words, it is “essentially about turning the gallery into an introspective space”.
The “participatory” exhibition, which begins on April 25, features installations by artists Harsh Raman, Iti Agarwal, Michaela Strobel, Mitwa Abhay Vandana, Suri, and Sheba Alexander from the Harkat Collective.
The idea is to get people to view the works through the lens of identity. Citing an example of one of the works, Talwar says, “You’ll see a human sculpture made of metal and wires where we’ve put a call for people to donate, temporarily or permanently, objects that define them in some way. People are invited to put their object of identity on the sculpture. This could even be mundane material possessions like a T-shirt, spectacles, a bindi, personal rings or a cap.”
Another installation, artist Harsh Raman’s ‘Masterpiece’, aims to make people delve deep into what’s the most important thing in life for them. “It’s an experiential art on the wall that’s an amalgamation of my journey that has brought me here till now. It’s a combination of all my works so far, yet the final form is unlike anything I’ve done before,” says the artist. “The work changes meaning as the audience changes. It’s designed in such a way that different people will see different things in it.”
Then, there’s one based on the “concept of labour”, but it doesn’t get activated without the viewer’s contribution. “One is invited to blow into a tube of a box facing a projection screen. There is a mechanism where the moment you blow into the tube, it reveals the projection — footage of protest marches, American Civil Rights movement, Indian Independence movement etc. It only gets activated with your breath, [touching upon] how are you using your breath for collective action,” the curator explains.
Apart from this thought-provoking exhibition — that has been realised as part of Curatorial Intensive South Asia 2017, a fellowship by the Goethe-Institut /Max Mueller Bhavan Delhi in collaboration with Khoj International Artists’ Association — there’s more in store. One can take part in poetry reading (6.30pm) and a self-portraiture workshop (3-5pm) on April 28.
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