Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Perilous urban glamour - Martha Jakimowicz, Deccan Herald dtd 28 July, 2008

The collaboration by two artists at Khoj@1Shanthiroad focussed on the glamour and dangers of our globalising, commercially driven urban landscape. The two works done by Sarath Kumarasiri of Sri Lanka and Bangalore's Shamala Nandesh (July 20 to 24) quite successfully connected and complemented each other using large-scale, plastic forms and referring to popular city visuals as well as to the disrupted, separate layers of its condition. Sarath Kumarasiri's ‘Stratification’ had a three-piece, architectural but also ‘archeological’ human head consisting of an ancient soil-face, a core structured like a high-rise of glass and a back soldered of digital hardware.

Each part standing at a distance from the others, the whole emphasised the incongruous simultaneity of the realities we live in. The sculpture was effective in its message, both grave and warm, if perhaps somewhat literal. The element of street culture dormant in it came to the fore and dazzled in Shamala Nendesh's ‘Celestial Clock’. An enormous fish with an open mouth covered in shiny paper and blinking festive lights, it was suspended from the ceiling, its equally illuminated tail to be found only in the room behind.

The blueness of the creature in the air let one think both of terrestrial water and rain. If the work did create the kind of enchantment associated with extravagant public celebrations, the ominous voracity intended in the metaphor was not exactly self-expressive. In fact, to understand it one had to learn that the inspiration had come from a poem by Nareyanappa and its character — the fish that had drank all the life-sustaining water. Even though not as weighty as they may have been, the sculptures were serious and spectacular enough, while doing justice to the project that was conceived as a joint venture.

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