Mithul MT

Display of Uncharted Explorations



Final Display 2017, Department of Fine Arts, Sarojini Naidu School, University of Hyderabad

The Students’ Final Display is an organized artistic practice in the premise of the Department of Fine arts, Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication in the University of Hyderabad. In this year, the Final Display was on view from 2nd to 4th May. The thirty out-going students from Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture and Art History and Visual Studies of the MFA program organized the event with collaboration and discussion with the faculty, staff and fellow students of the department. The students displayed the selected works that they created during their two years of academic program in the university. I found that the event offered a thinking process of various curatorial issues that are dominant in the contemporary art scene. For example, how to display what was experimented in the past years; how to display the artworks that are still under process; how to understand and assume the spectator; how to think the artists and their works are also the spectators of the spectators were some of the points that were discussed. The Final Display had a spectacular appearance this year. At first sight I felt as if I am in a grand art fair.  It was enriching to witness the camaraderie and community that the students built through their works that also hid the complex laborious and layered relationships as well.

In the exhibition, the artists’ primary concerns were to express a strong sense of individualism. Each work was placed with a concern of the spatial distribution of the architecture at the Campus. The showcased artworks were in the dynamics of space demanded by their own aesthetics. Some works were displayed in a typical art gallery fashion while some were not. Some were kept below the normal eye level and some were not kept on pedestals. All the artists truly explored the space within which their artworks were kept on display. Display set off to journey of uncharted explorations of artist’s. I believe that the art works can be understood and appreciated with the viewer’s sensibility and quality to visualize, experience, and conceptualize with the accommodation of physical, meta physical and logical possibilities. Nevertheless, the diversity in the art practice and experiment along with the historical rigor marked the freedom of the students and enabled them to understand and learn from their own practice and works.

Diveesh Gadekar’s sound installation series tilted as ‘Hyderabad 1’,’Hyderabad 2‘ and ‘Listen to me’ that were displayed in the courtyard and corridor of the printmaking studio played between noise and silence. These interactive sound installations had tried to club the different sensibilities of visual, audio and sensory feelings to create a new world of experience. The nature and the activities of the city landscape is the soul of his works. By combining the two environments of diverse medium and space creates a dialogue of his work. Tanaya Kundu through her works on body and bruise brought the issues of sexual abuse, memory, and family relationship at the centre of her making in the printmaking studio. Her etched and scratched fiberglass surface, video projection of her performance on shaving of her head, sculptures of broken legs in plaster of Paris, and a hanging figure that is made of tree roots pushed the audience a step back before they move further to see what is next. Gautham Ramachandran’s photographs of silver bromide print series on ‘Inner landscapes’ and ‘Tamilakam rekaikal’ are simply a gaze on mundane landscape and object and the ‘Etching in history’ series is a metamorphosis of engraving technique on historical monuments. Mannan Seikh’s ‘Two pillows’ and ‘Melting motion’ installation with ice bricks consist of etchings, drawings, and video projection which subvert masculine representation in daily life. In ‘Broken Connection’ and ‘Our Society‘ Probhash Sarkar experimented with the lazy objects of his studios that include incomplete self-portrait, empty mineral water bottle, used zinc plate, gifted cactus plant as metaphors to address the issue of waste in his surroundings. Anju Chandran’s ‘Animal Husbandry’ is made of photographs, fossils of reptiles and other species such as frog, fly that constructed a meta-narrative of her own life.

Priyanka Das interlaced sound with smell and body to jerk the issue of sensory experience that we get from our surrounding and also that thrusts an identity upon us. Her multimedia installation which was displayed in the corner of painting studio one utilized the drawing over the transparent sheet as interlace with the audio of flushing and the odor of distress. Her drawings of limbs and tissues in the boxes with pinholes and in the public toilet confront us with the visual representation of human bodies in distorted realities. Azmeera Hathiram created a bricolage with prints, drawings, watercolors, and historical and popular images. Hatiram intended to suggest that our visualities in the surroundings are the imitation of history. Akhil K Chandran also joined Hatiram with similar approaches through a large number of miniature paintings and drawings on the stationary sticky note pads. Tulasi Kirlampalli played with discursiveness of frail and fragile by keeping her images floated with the wind, but within the wooden frames that were displayed near to entrance of one of the painting studios. Mayuri Chari worked with raw cow dung and the conventional process of making cow dung cakes. She made sculptural forms with raw cow dung to suggest mutation of body. Sumantra Sardar overlapped text, drawing, paintings and an installation that deals with the tension of unsettlement and migration as well. Nasrin Ahamed, Bipin Saha and Krishnendu Roy worked on their own conflicts of survive and service in home, village and city. Nasrin Ahamed works over the religious customs is her understating’s and the questions about them which she experienced from her village. Bipin Saha through his paintings raised his concerns about the changes happening in the environment and its effects in the society. Installation of the iron paddy field and the distorted straw basket raise his concern over cultivation and changing traditions. Krishnendu worked with the changes happening in the topography due to urbanization. He made use of cartography and geographic views to map the changing world. John Varghese’s photographs, captured in his mobile camera are the subversion of mundane incidents that keeps on happening every day, around us.

Pradip Banerjee’s work with terracotta was about the fractal space of an object. Anupam Paul’s ‘Transforming Potter’ brings the object ‘pot’ and its attributes to the centre of identity as potter and state of being. The hybridity of folk and mechanical reproduction in Kalpit Gaonkar’s works reflect the elements of transition, transformation and degradation. Anakapalli Sivakrishna worked with playfulness and its endearing forms that have the simplicity of natural materials. His sculptures render and unravel the thoughts, desire and questions that confront him. Ragesh’s  work showcased his visual exploration with the study of the objects around it, not as an imitation or its utility, but as an understanding of the different characteristics, relations, and thoughts beyond the formalist perceptions. The organic biodegradable marine materials are transformed into natural and social life in the works of Ujjwal Mandal. Landscapes occupy the works of Indranil Biswash with the question over space, architecture and its natural inclination.

It appears that each one of the thirty participating out going students had diverse issues to address. Once we completed seeing the exhibition, we discovered that there are a few common themes which run through the display; such as, body, identity and dislocation, which were processed by the artists in isolation. Thus, the displayed works appear as footnotes of some larger issues for instance, sexuality, cosmopolitanism and identity crisis. Hence, the Students’ Final Display called for a need of ‘curation in academic studies of art practice’.  Nevertheless, the most interesting element of the display was the emotional entanglement in-between works, space, studio practice, and process of making, preparation of display and at the end, the course of action to take farewell.    

Image courtesy: Somedutta Mallik and Gautham Ramachandran

Mithul MT is an art historian and writer. He has completed MFA in Art history and Visual Studies from S.N. School, University of Hyderabad and BFA in Painting from Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady.

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