Emoting with musty wood

When we meet, Bhuvanesh Gowda is arranging oblong chunks of wood in a circular fashion, painstakingly plotting the centre with a thread and a piece of chalk. To the layman, his exhibit may look like various cannon pieces arranged in a circle. Gowda, instead, has worked with passion to transform it into something more. “I’ve titled this exhibit ‘Nowhere to Elsewhere’,” says the artist. “It depicts a multiverse, where every work is focused at one point, which is the centre.” Gowda’s ongoing show, Otah Protah, features works made of reclaimed wood sourced from timber houses selling second-hand material.

Gowda says Otah Protah is an all-consuming phrase. “It is completeness; simply everything, all-pervasive.” While on the surface, the meaning may appear to be simple, delving deeper, Gowda’s idea is an enormous and subsuming one. Inspired by the act of creation, Gowda has attempted to bring forth his meaning of the concept. He views it as a cross-wise and length-wise weaving pattern, reflected in his sculptures. Extensively influenced by the link between philosophy and science, Gowda chanced upon physicist Fritjof Capra’s 1975 book The Tao of Physics, which, in a way, proved to be the starting point for this exhibition. Capra’s investigation into the similarities between

Eastern philosophies of Taoism and empirical sciences gave shape to the installation, Dr. Capra’s Garden. “Capra’s book answered my questions on these similarities, and I got really excited,” says Gowda. The piece is a

pyramid-like structure made of chiselled wooden blocks with grooves at the head. Each block has a compatible groove in another block within the structure, and fits in like a jigsaw puzzle. However, Gowda has left these grooves untouched. “The idea is the notion of magnetism, to show that at the base of everything, there is nothing but energy.”

Every single exhibit at the show is made of wood, of different colours and varieties, due to which Gowda’s work resembles carpentry as well. “But there is only a very thin line between carpentry and art. Carpentry is nothing but the creation of something from wood. But where carpentry exists in completion, my art is incomplete to give a sense of continuity.”

Gowda’s philosophy is rather evident in his exhibits, which resemble incomplete or work-in-

progress pieces in the form of half-charred sculptures and barely-painted wall hangings. “I burn some parts of the wood in my sculpture to give rise to a sense of destruction.” He paints only parts of his sculptures in pastel colours to give a sense of antiquity.

Gowda’s work can be described as an exhibition that manages to capture a spectrum of emotions, from emptiness to completion, portrayed in the raw earthy tones of aged wood, much like the man himself.

The writer is an intern at The Hindu

Otah Protah is on till January 5 at Chemould Prescott Road.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 9:47:16 AM |

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