German artist Eberhard Havekost's double bill at Mumbai promises a new look at the seemingly commonplace.
“Regular is boring,” declares German artist Eberhard Havekost. So he takes pictures of the big black sofa sitting in his studio in Dresden from various angles and paints a picture that is far from the usual. The result is “Shimmery Mauve” — oil on canvas painting on display at Gallerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke — that comes alive in the many folds and play of light.
“For three months I watched this big black leather sofa lying in my studio. Till one day, it became an object of fascination. It was as if I was watching an elephant in the jungle. I befriended it. I knew I had to paint it,” says the 43-year-old professor at Kunsthochschule Dusseldorf. Havekost is in India for a double bill show: “Sightseeing Trip” at the Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum and “NEWS” at Gallerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke both on till April 1.
The former is collaboration between the prestigious museum of Mumbai and Dresden State Art Collection to mark the Indo-German friendship year. Here, in 113 offset prints and 19 paintings, Havekost draws from seemingly mundane and universal urban cacophony to create a reality that he can relate to. Hence, a building block outside his apartment gets transformed into nine frames of distorted windows and skewed architecture in an untitled series dated 2000. Or the familiar sight of urban waste – the ubiquitous black bag, the cardboard cartons, disposable coffee cups – find expression in the 2003 work Trash 1. In the four frames titled Mobile DD, Havekost captures the speed of an urban landscape. In Geist, of 2009, a black hooded form becomes a comment on the lack of individuality.
These everyday motifs of city life, captured and filtered in photographs, undergo a transformation to appear anew either as paintings or digital prints. The artist's perception, the interplay between his mind and the sensory data, alters the banal into interesting. “I dematerialise these everyday images through my eyes and create something new,” says Havekost.
In creating these works, the artist experiments extensively with colours on the canvas. The creation of this almost translucent surface, as seen in Shimmering Mauve, is fascinating, says Ranjana Steinruecke of Gallerie Mirchandani+ Steinruecke hosting NEWS.
“NEWS” showcases Havekost with Indian artist Manish Nai who has evolved an original vocabulary using jute and paper on canvas to lay water colours or to create sculptured works by compressing jute, newspaper, sponge and even aluminium, of late. “I respond to everyday objects. For instance, I am fascinated by the process of application of cement by a mason, the designs created by this,” says Nai.
Perhaps it is this common passion to find new meaning in the routine and the commonplace that draws these two artists together. Both Nai and Havekost are to show together at Berlin in June.
Bottomline: Everyday motifs of city life undergo a transformation to appear anew.
Sightseeing Trip: Eberhard Havekost in India; Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, Mumbai, February 19 to April 1
NEWS: Works by Eberhard Havekost and Manish Nai; Gallerie Mirchandani+Steinruecke, Mumbai, February 22-March 31.