“Bliss” looks at the concept of happiness in a novel manner
The Stainless Art Gallery, continuing in its quest to raise steel from the sphere of construction to more ethereal realms, recently put up a collection of paintings and photographs by Paris-based artist Siddharth Choudhary.
Titled “Bliss”, the series makes use of paintings and digital works, connected by a common concept. Elaborating on the theme, Choudhary says, “It is an attempt to explain how we go to great lengths to seek a blissful life which manifests itself in our dependence on external material factors.”
The motif of the zipper runs through the series, the zipper ceasing to be an object and assuming greater symbolic significance. The paintings consist of figures and portraits, characterised by zipped eyes and smiling faces. “This can be interpreted in two ways — it can mean that one is looking inwards to seek happiness or it can mean ignorance is bliss,” explains the artist.
Made of acrylic on linen, the figures painted in black and white have bright monochromatic backgrounds of reds, yellows, greens, purples, browns, and blues, to accentuate the meaning.
What makes the paintings very ‘Indian' is the use of mehndi designs in the headgear of the figures, thus reflecting the festive spirit of Diwali. To introduce a variation, the self-taught artist has added a wooden touch to two of the portraits in the form of teakwood zippers across the eyelids.
The theme of bliss has been artfully continued in his collection of black and white archival prints. Choudhary, in this collection, has digitally stitched photographs to form one single print.
With glimpses of Paris as the backdrop — metro stations, the Louvre museum, the Louis Vuitton store — each print has the image of zippers as paintings, sculptures or scribbles, digitally placed on them to reiterate the theme. Not only do the images blend completely with the background, they also depict the idea that one does not need to travel or shop to be happy from within.
The 3-D animated video gives a fitting conclusion to the series. Titled “The Quest”, the video shows a ball with mehndi prints climbing up a ladder to reach a trophy and ultimately ending in failure. “You cannot keep climbing. You have to be happy with the way you are,” comments the artist.
Working with the digital medium for the first time, Choudhary feels that compared to paintings, the digital medium gives much more freedom. What makes the collection stand out is the instant connect it establishes with the viewers. The concept of inward happiness is represented in a novel and interesting manner.
The brisk sales of paintings too stand testimony to the artist's reception by viewers.
The exhibition is on display till November 20, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.