Eight Indian and Korean ceramic artists come together in a collaboration at Kalakshetra

Earth Matters — 3, an exhibition, will be on display from February 27 to March 3 at DakshinChitra

The smoke that emanates from the many kilns at Kalakshetra’s Ceramics Department signals a flurry of activity. The smell of burnt earth hangs in the air as one walks into the otherwise quiet, and hidden part of the campus which houses a workspace. For the past few weeks, this has been the second home for a group of Indian and Korean artists who are seated near a calming mini-pond. By the end of February, whatever they are working on will materialise into a display titled Earth Matters - 3 — an attempt at exploring ideas and thoughts that pertain to Nature.

InKo Centre, in association with Clayarch Gimhae Museum in Korea, Kalakshetra Foundation, and DakshinaChitra, has brought four Korean and four Indian ceramic artists to create a multicultural dialogue in the medium.

The crowded workspace lends to a collage of sights; while coffee is being brewed in one corner, a figurine of Buddha takes form in another. In the backyard, the first batch of sculptures are being fired. On one of the worktables, artist Suh Sanghee is finishing a bust on clay while referring to a picture on her phone. “The picture is that of one of our helpers here. He is the only one who could make friends with the dogs here,” she laughs. Her finished figurative works include the busts of Ganesha, Buddha and the figurine of a cow.

Eight Indian and Korean ceramic artists come together in a collaboration at Kalakshetra

“Many people come to India to find enlightenment and peace, so did I. I was looking for happiness. But the first thing that struck me was what the figure of Ganesha means to people here,” says Sanghee who will present five works in the exhibit, adding that the idea was to create structures that ultimately redefined the meaning of happiness for her. On the other hand, Park Ja il’s undefined, almost fluid structures look at identity as a concept.

“These abstract compositions reflect emotions I felt during moments I question my identity. These works can be described as emissions, emptiness and explosions,” says the artist whose work is a result of her emotional journey.

Hong Geun Young takes this concept further by creating structures that emote through the physical body — abstract figures with human traits and unusual elements make most of her work.

Indian ceramic artist Neha Kudchakar also follows a similar trajectory with one of her works. Though still in its genesis, Neha’s assortment of 21 nail-like structures, reflect her personal and emotional evolution. “I also use a lot of photography. Along with this particular work, I will display photographs that show the juxtaposition of two bodies, and the voids that it may create when placed against each other,” says Neha who will display three works in total. Another work of hers, is modelled out of fragmented plastic containers that households use on a daily basis, which will be put together to form a china wall (porcelain walls that are often associated with luxury and monetary privilege).

Eight Indian and Korean ceramic artists come together in a collaboration at Kalakshetra

While Abir Patwardhan looks at Nature and its ability to create something out of nothing, specifically, “the interconnectedness of Nature”. He works with rope which forms the structure but on firing, it disappears leaving a void. This is an entirely new process that Abir is experimenting with. Snaking, intricate webs of clay, are the result of this.

Chennai-based Ramkumar Kannadasan’s work is a rebuttal to urbanisation that happens at the cost of Nature. His sculpture of an elephant’s body, divided in half, between an urban area and a forest, captures the contrast he intends to display. “Whenever something comes in the control of humans, it shrinks. When left alone in its natural environment, it is the other way around,” says the artist.

Though the techniques are similar, what the different cultures bring to the table, is the point of interest in the exhibition. For the artists, the camaraderie and artistic output born out of it, is the main takeaway of the residency.

Earth Matters - 3 will be inaugurated on February 27, and will be on display till March 5 at Varija Art Gallery, DakshnaChitra, Muttukadu.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 9:08:15 PM |

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