L.N. Tallur conjures up a multi-sensory experience at his latest exhibition.
Engagement goes a little deeper in the case of L.N. Tallur. His works that necessitates the use of all five senses draws the viewer in so very easily. And once in, the viewer can unravel the layers for himself or herself. At “Ukai (Cormorant Fish Hunting)”, Tallur’s latest show at Nature Morte Gallery in Niti Bagh, this is what happens. His works in carved wood, reconstituted machines and figures in yogic poses beckon the viewer to experience them. Tallur deals with the issue of greed, a subject he has worked on earlier too — for instance ‘Chromatophobia The Fear of Money’ (2010) — but different bodies of work, he says, work with specifics which are different. The metaphor this South Korea-based artist — who divides his time between that country and Mangalore in India — has chosen is that of Ukai, a fishing practice in medieval China and Japan. In this technique, fisherman tie a snare around a trained cormorant’s throat to keep the bird from swallowing fish above a certain size, thus trapping those fish for the fishermen to extract.
‘Path Finder’ has a man in a yogic pose, with a wheel (running on a motor) that splashes mud on to the figure. The piece sucks you in and makes you think about the rat race (a different version of this piece will be at the upcoming India Art Fair). But in ‘Karma Yoga’ (rendered in wood, steel and silicone) the viewer is asked to move the steel dower bar attached to the large cylindrical shaped wooden pieces without expecting ant results. Wit is integral to the art of this ever-smiling artist who won the Skoda Prize in 2012 for his show “Quintessential” shown at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai.
“I agree that my works provide a multi-sensory experience because it’s just so hard to explain my art. It can only be felt. I think the experience deepens with the way you communicate. The viewers are also central to my work because it is they who make my work come alive and there are different kinds of people, some who are too eager to participate and some who have inhibitions, but then it all becomes part of my discourse,” says the artist recording me while I move the dowel bar.
He mocks the corporate world in ‘Cormorant Fishing’ and ‘Cormorant Fish Hunting’ where he uses disparate materials like burnt wood (which was first carved) and glass together, reminding the viewer of cabins. “I play with the irony of these two materials being together. It’s interesting to see how people are controlled and isolated in a corporate world,” explains Tallur, who is known for his clever negotiation with material and form.
(The exhibition is on at Nature Morte, Neeti Bagh, till February 8)