Artist Statements

What is real and how do we recognize it? Is it the Cultural vantage point? Its conditioning is often subverted. The Physical? Yogis and Physicists claim matter and form is an illusion: a manifestation of energy with no real boundaries. History is no longer believed to be a recounting of “fact”. Psychology studies the varying perceptions of the same event and Art plays with this capacity to generate multiple meanings/ realities. This question gets more potent as increasingly the Virtual world begins to make its own “alternate real”.

My work constantly traverses the lines between Metaphor, Reality and Illusion and ranges from plays on space-time theories to cultural, historic and physical critiques of place, done in paintings, interactive installations, sculpture, video and performance.

My recent projects involve drawing out, assembling and even weaving illusions of a perceived space, object or another time on top of the pre-existing objects and architecture of a chosen space, until from one vantage point the actual space is completely obliterated by the perceived. As viewers step away from the specified viewing position and enter the installation, the objects break into strange shapes, stubbornly fighting the architecture and retaining angles of a now-inaccurate perspective, generating a space- time hiccup where they are free to move but their earlier perception is not. Both form and material turn fickle as straight lines turn into curves mapped on a rounded table leg, the seamless frame of fictional chair abruptly bursts into a zig-zag of tiny hand cut and polished wood pieces, and the “fabric on a sofa” plainly starts displaying the hand’s gestures in chalk pastel. The backs of the real chairs, tables, trash cans, jars, exposed bits of the floor, walls, shelves and columns begin to unabashedly reveal themselves and a contradictory co-existence of the real and virtual begins.

Meanwhile, in a real-time video feed projected onto a screen across the room, viewers/ participants watch themselves moving through the perfectly lined up fictional space. While the direct phenomenological experience of their own frozen vision often turns abstract and hard to negotiate, this mediated, one-point view (the projection) lets them watch themselves simultaneously moving through the convincing illusionist space offering a more graspable solution. From time to time, even this graspable solution turns unpredictable as viewers see themselves or another walking through what seemed like a concrete object: very disconcertingly challenging the boundaries of form and matter! Participants are confronted with awkwardly trying to locate themselves in the multiple spaces set up – the fractured “here”, the mediated (in space) “there” and the memory of the space (mediated in time) they are supposed to be in.
Further, the relationship between these start getting more complex as the image on screen responds to their movements not like the virtual image of a familiar mirror, but rather the opposite. Bodies slow down, movements gets amplified as the participants start concentrating on re-familiarizing themselves with their own bodies and trying to understand what the implications of a movement in this space will have on the others.

A video is generated during the creation (and eventual destruction) of this fictional world around me. In the mapping process, a video camera looks through the drawing of the illusory space on glass into the actual space with me in it. I co-relate my drawing on the floor, walls and other pre-existing furniture in the space to the image seen by the camera via an enlarged projection of it. I continually watch myself in the projection as I map out a version of perception that is not true to my current place in space-time (but I momentarily subscribe to) as attested by another video camera placed elsewhere revealing the absurdity of this one point view and my awkward attempts at trying to match it.

Using the disconcerting tension between the perceptual and phenomenological experience, these projects ask questions about permanence and transience, object and image, fact and illusion, mapping and displacement, perception and knowledge, often exposing the fragile set of givens upon which meaning is constructed.

About the micro-interventions

Using the history and physicality of spaces as a springboard, my work involves interventions that I find or create in the walls, floor and ceiling (often in sterile seeming urban environments). These subtle interventions occasionally house microcosmic activity in the form of synthetic, miniature structures of painted polymer clay along with moss, fungi, plants and other organic materials.

These contained pockets of activity dissolve as the walls and ceiling become proliferating, living membranes via the accompaniment of miniscule, accentuated scars, which reference real or artificial histories of previous installations. These activate what are presumably transitional voids between the “pieces” converting negative space into positive, the wall from ground to figure and creating ambiguity as to which of the marks are intentional, accidental, overlooked or created (correspondingly what is the art and what isn’t). In doing so, the work rids itself of a frame and migrates not only into each other’s territory but also the outside world.

The viewing asks for basic vision, like infants that haven’t yet been conditioned to bracket visual information – they are often too close or too far. This incorporates elastic scale shifts from the molecule to the body to the building to the outside world and back. It questions the conditioned framing of attentive vision and asks for a certain centralization of peripheral vision. I got interested in seeing if this breaking of the frame could take place within the recognizable object and this led to the Perceptual interventions mentioned above.

My attempt is towards a kind of perversion of the “neutral” space of the gallery demarcated for the witnessing of “intellectual or cultural” activity. Several larger interventions question the periphery of the “art viewing” space by mimicking the pre-existing architecture and extending or contracting it physically or via implications (like mirrors). Occasionally the work literally is literally located outside the gallery. The amplification of pre-existing flaws, their juxtaposition with alien objects like sculptures and paintings and the employment of materials in their different states [as metaphors, as illusion and as reality (their base state)] aid in a dialogue that identifies objects as finding their natural position of rest (like holes, cracks, insects etc) versus objects that have been displaced into this space with a certain violence (like paintings/ sculptures)– i.e. objects that have a contractual as opposed to intrinsic relationship with the wall/ floor/ ceiling.

The languages of painting, sculpture and installation help these tiny objects turn magnanimous, amplify and assert themselves into space. The viewer’s gain through discovery is proportional to their willingness to participate with the work by straining their sensory preceptors and manipulating their bodies to closely inspect the seemingly empty macro-world of the “White Cube”.