It’s so rare that you are allowed to touch a work of art that to be invited to walk all over it can be both intimidating and intriguing. On Tuesday evening, visitors who walked into Latitude 28, stepping over dozens of rubber prints, looked as bewildered as they would have been if asked to explain the title of the show. Glitch Frame Lollipop is the handiwork of three young artists – Amitabh Kumar, Siddhartha Kararwal and Prayas Abhinav – who belong to different creative spaces but have collaborated to put up a show that is as quirky and satirical as it can ever get.
The window of the gallery is adorned with powder coated stuffed garments, inside the gallery sits a bluetooth keyboard fitted with a webcam and projector and in a nook near the staircase that leads you to the first floor, there is a cake like installation made of coal-tar and dentures. But first the title. Glitch, for the artists, means “arriving at art through an error of understanding”, Frame is what only “the glitcher shall know” and Lollipop is “the reward that you get for finally getting there”. The gallery space thus looks like a wonderland or “glitched” – it’s messy, with scores of projector wires hanging loose from everywhere, egg shells and paper stamped erratically all over the walls, installations small and large cropping up from every nook and corner. Kumar, primarily a comic book designer and curator, says that the name was chosen to “give an edgy, contemporary name to our work, which says a lot about our society and world but in a cheeky, fun way without sermonising.”
And true to the spirit of this title, Kumar is showing works in different mediums, the first itself enigmatically called Revenge of The Non. The work is a triptych of three ultraviolet prints on raw aluminum sheet which is about figures, objects and ideas of excess and obsolescence. In the first drawing, for instance, he makes a fly sit on an egg, the other is an inverted spinal cord with pelvic bone and the third is of a rat morphing into a formless mass. “The work is based on the concept that the meek shall one day inherit the earth. It’s an ode to the powerless who are merely cogs in a so called functional system, and how their time has come to take revenge.” Kumar in that sense is questioning democratic systems where all are deemed equal and yet some are more equal than the others.
The small cake made of dentures and coal tar is titled You look silly when you fall. Mounted on a jar of glycerine, the coaltar is supposed to melt over a period of time, and all that will remain is the denture. “Coal tar is symbolic of development and what I’m trying to say here is that in the process of ‘so called development’, one has to fall.”
Abhinav, a new media specialist from Bangalore, has also worked in mixed media, with the first installation work titled Lack-lustre Narratives and made up of Software, bluetooth keyboard, projector and paper. As one types on the keyboard, the letters being projected on the wall – inscribed with the cryptic line – A sentence written in a minute is different from one written in two – change patterns, almost creating a kaleidoscope like form. Abhinav explains: “If you type in inconsistent rhythms, the narrative keeps getting fragmented and scattered. In a way the software responds to your emotions.” Technology can be controlled too, he says.
Abhinav’s second work is titled Meri Jaan Tere Daant Me Hai (My Life Is In Your Teeth) and is an interactive video, webcam, screen, glass with mechanical contraptions where the video changes its sequence of edit if the viewer smiles. His third work is a print titled Panic which is about a world where it is always necessary to always keep your eyes open and where escape is not possible from any reality.
Baroda-based Siddhartha Kararwal has made a series of large scale installations which follows his work with plastic and other indigenous materials, this time focusing on powdered and processed fabric. His idea is to break the visual baggage which a viewer brings along every time he sees a work of art. These concerns are evident in his large scale installations made in fabric and other indigenous everyday material like satin, cotton and wood and titled The Tomato Masher and Lick Stick.
By the time we have taken a look at the entire show, the original artwork on the door-mat like rubber prints have faded, with so many footprints passing on them, to create a new image of its own. And that perhaps is the message of the show and also part of a conversation we overhear. One says: But this is not art. And the other replies: That is the point.
Glitch Frame Lollipop is on at Latitude 28, Lado Sarai, New Delhi
till September 17, 2012
Poonam Goel is a freelance journalist and has covered the arts for over 15 years. She contributes on visual arts for various newspapers, magazines and online media. More about her on Story Wallahs. Write to her @ firstname.lastname@example.org