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Exploring the wheel of time

Subodh Singh's ongoing solo exhibition - `Kaalchakra' at Daira - Centre for Arts and Culture, displays his dexterity at handling various mediums to echo the concept of the wheel which became the `kaalchakra'.

TRANSFORMATION OF TRADITIONAL: A grindstone is part of the visual vocabulary.

AN UNSEEN unknown turmoil - a small segment stashed away somewhere, kept reticent by our conditioned attitude to be comfortable, with a facade of bravado cannot really remain so reticent after all, and surfaces at unusual times in unusual ways. This little segment pops up to be addressed, urges its demystification that could take one across a journey of exploration - a creative journey that could evolve an interesting amalgamation of interpretations. T. Subodh Singh, young, ambitious and ready to trade his mortar skills for more fastidious simplification, brings it into the vortex of his present exploration called `Kaalchakra' -- the wheel of time, in his first solo show of sculptures at Daira Centre for Art and Culture.

The concept of `time and man' bounded in a tight capsule - inseparable and intriguing, poised on innumerable peripheries has been interpreted in many ways. `Time' has been a boundless energy for some, if a metaphor of limitless continuity it has also been an idiom of stability - a standstill situation for many others and so on. So when Subodh Singh heard Kabir's age-old doha - - Chalti Chakki Dekh ke diya Kabira roye, Do patan ke beech me saboot bacha na koye he could not resist the elusive ways of the theme and the simple wheel, which he had been using in his sculptures, became the `Kaalchakra'.

T. Subodh Singh

His initial sculpture, a traditional grindstone crushing a man evokes an uneasy feeling of the sublime triumph of time over man. Subodh's research into the dynamics of `time', `man' and the `universe' has also facilitated him to establish a personal visual vocabulary. "Traditional or unconventional it is, but essential for me to experience media, therefore my works are sequences of my innumerable experiences with materials," says Subodh Singh, whose travelling eye catches up with found objects (discarded ready made materials) to incorporate them steadily into his artistic objectivity.

Using uncanny materials in various mediums ranging from a kadhai, bricks and a chakki to circular iron rings, stoves, iron chains and wooden pieces in combination with his own creative sculptures in wood, metal or plaster, Subodh creates assemblages echoing his concept. If it is man held captive in the claws of time in one case, it is the hanging - suspended in the realm of time at others.

NEW LANGUAGE: The artist dabbles in various media.

The idealism, the fervent efforts to apply the learnt and to do something new combined with innocence and the omnipresent courage lends all the beauty to youth. Despite flaws, whatever done with integrity is always alluring. There are influences - influences from Subodh's period of learning, the slide shows, discussions, exposure to artists, sculpture camps and the college library. The works are also replete with candid symbolism, categorically implying the obvious. There is also an effort albeit in a juvenile stage to substantiate the `unconventional'. This indicates that Subodh is visibly exempting himself from his traditional background and fighting to get a foothold in the maze of the `much happening' field of contemporary art.

The exhibition is a commendable effort considering that Subodh Singh's foray into the mainstream of sculpture is just about four years, when he joined the Dept. of Sculpture at JNTU to do his BFA. This was not difficult, as Subodh comes from a family of traditional sculptors of the infamous Dhoolpet area, which makes the famous Ganeshas every year. He was already adept at making the gigantic Ganeshas and even today is the `backbone' of his family business. What was difficult was the discovery of the other side of tradition - the contemporary field of art - its wide horizons and the wider possibilities it offered that could take him to the pinnacle of enjoyment, and finding a place in it.

UNCANNY MEDUIM: Even a `kadai' is used.

"I made a conscious effort to learn and to know. I have worked very hard to understand the field, to get a hang of it and enjoy what I am doing. After a large number of works - realistic and creative in almost all mediums, - terracotta, plaster, cement, wood and metal. I gradually started working on this series, consciously and casually using the readymade objects," he says.

Perhaps his conscious learning on the theoretic level, his sincerity and his ability to de-learn his impeccable skills coupled with his philosophical bent of mind and an awesome positive attitude invites the audience to contemplate about the man and his idea through his floor and kinetic sculptures. The sculptures are on show at Daira Centre for Arts and Culture till March 29, daily between 11.00 a.m. and 7.00 p.m.


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