Metroplus

When city becomes a canvas

Owing to the fact that most galleries prefer established and reputed artists, he decided to choose young artists for his project, acting as a springboard for them.

Owing to the fact that most galleries prefer established and reputed artists, he decided to choose young artists for his project, acting as a springboard for them.  

The 080:30 exhibition explores the city as a canvas and identifies transition spots as opportunities for artistic expressions.

The 080:30 project by Loopholes, an art collective, headed by Bengaluru-based artist and facilitator, Suresh Kumar G., cannot be described in words. Perhaps, that is what led the group to put together an exhibition, documenting their artistic interventions through photographs, videos and related objects. The works offer a comprehensible view of the year-long project.

With around 20 artists, all under the age of 30, forming the core team, the 080:30 is a combination of the city’s STD code and the age limit of the participants and it began in August 2013. Meeting as often as once a week, the collective engaged in performances, interventions and installations across the city.

“We identified spots in transition, such as construction sites. What happens when art is placed in such areas? How do the people there react to it? These are some concepts we explored through our work,” says Suresh Kumar, the brain behind the project. Starting off with sculptures over a decade ago, his attention was soon captured by the idea of public performances and art installations. Suresh, who is also one of the founders of BAR 1, the oldest Bangalore-based Artist Residency programme in the city, calls himself an art activist and facilitator as opposed to a curator.

Owing to the fact that most galleries prefer established and reputed artists, he decided to choose young artists for his project, acting as a springboard for them. “Being accustomed to the idea of showcasing in a closed space like a gallery, some of them were initially hesitant about performing in public.”

While some artists such as Raghu Wodeyar focused on the theme of development and pollution, others like Varsha Bhide and Ranjana Nagaraja chose subtle and poetic thoughts to express.

One of the collective’s interventions include turning the Hombe Gowda Public School grounds, an erstwhile lake area at Wilson Garden, into an “ice spot” with blocks of coloured ice.

From slides to cricket wickets, the ice installations created also helped in engaging the local kids. Intervening with video projections at fashion showrooms in Commercial Street, various forms of artistic expressions on dilapidated buildings at Kadirenahalli Cross and a “playlist of performances” at K.R. Market are just a few among the group’s works.

“The entire city was like a canvas for us,” says Yash Bhandari, one of the artists. Much like the messy pathways of Bengaluru, the floor of the exhibition hall is strewn with torn papers and clothes, causing you to watch your step. The spots where the group intervened with their art have been highlighted by circular, painted sections on the ground. Suresh agrees that it is an unconventional show.

“Even though the project was completed a year ago, we wanted to revisit it in an informal way but in a formal space. People can sense the energy of the collective when they come here. However, it can also be tiring for them.”

With a gallery walk scheduled for July 22 at 4 p.m., he hopes to invite visitors to explore the concept and the work put together by the 080:30 collective.

The exhibition will be on at Max Mueller Bhavan till July 23 between 2.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 11:45:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/when-city-becomes-a-canvas/article7448118.ece

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