Sculptures Art

Experiments with glass

One of the glass sculptures in the Old Seeds series

One of the glass sculptures in the Old Seeds series  

Artist Sisir Sahana’s new series is a play of textures through which he reflects on history

Certain artworks need to be viewed in the right ambience to make an impact on viewers, rather than be placed in plain sight. The 12 glass sculptures by Sisir Sahana now on view at Kalakriti, Hyderabad, fall into this category. The beauty and intricacies of these art forms come alive when the sculptures are illuminated by small light sources while the gallery itself is plunged in darkness. A few of these sculptures are a result of fusing together up to a dozen forms in myriad textures, colours and shapes.

‘Old seeds in glass’ is among Sisir’s most intricate work till date. “The techniques I’ve used in this series is the result of my 20-year experiment with glass,” the artist says with pride. Sisir is among Hyderabad’s most recognised artists and the art fraternity is familiar with his experiments with glass. A few years ago he moved to Santiniketan, West Bengal, to teach glass art to students of Kala Bhavan. “Many students are eager to learn glass art but institutions in India don’t teach it as part of the curriculum. I was determined to change this and when the opportunity came up, I moved to Santiniketan to teach,” he says.

Earlier this year he was at an artist residency at Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC), United States, which was supported by Kalakriti. He spent two months working on this series. “The groundwork was done a year ago; I visited PGC to understand their facilities, booked a slot and informed them of my requirements — like the equipment and kiln,” he reveals.

Sisir Sahana

Sisir Sahana  

Old Seeds is an evolution of thought from his previous series such as Excavation and Frozen in Time, which draw references from the past. Sisir terms Old Seeds as a dialogue with soil. “We associate what we see above the surface as growth. A lot of growth happens underneath too. Excavations unravel chemical reactions that happen below the surface,” he says, referring to archaeological findings of ancient civilisations.

He envisioned his glass sculptures as a conglomeration of textured surfaces. “I wanted to accept the characteristics of glass — transparency, translucence and opacity — which lead to textures and layers through which I can present my ideas. I didn’t want to uniformly polish the glass,” he says.

At PGS, Sisir had the help of other artists to assist him in what he terms as a complex process of blowing, fusing and casting to arrive at the varied forms. Glass artists, he says, need to work intuitively; when the process is on, it’s tough to pinpoint how exactly things need to shape up. “It’s impossible to give clear cut instructions as to what to do. In that aspect, it was great to have artists who understood the medium. I took it as an opportunity to experiment,” he says. A few sculptures depict facial features, which Sisir says wasn’t easy to create.

Once the basic structures were designed during the two-month residency programme, Sisir shipped them to Santiniketan where he gave finishing touches over the next three months.

Old Seeds has been exhibited in Santiniketan and Kolkata, and will next travel to Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai.

“Glass art requires technical and scientific knowledge,” says Sisir who had earlier established a studio in Hyderabad. After moving to Santiniketan, he set up a studio there and says despite his best efforts, the facility cannot be compared to international studios.

(Old Seeds in Glass is on view at Kalakriti art gallery, Hyderabad, till November 5)

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Printable version | Mar 26, 2020 9:36:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/artist-sisir-sahanas-new-series-is-a-play-of-textures-through-which-he-reflects-on-history/article29699341.ece

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