Culture | Art

The art that’s part of the JCB Prize for Literature

‘Mirror Melting’, the aluminium sculpture by Thukral & Tagra, which is presented as a ‘trophy’ to the JCB Literary Prize winners

‘Mirror Melting’, the aluminium sculpture by Thukral & Tagra, which is presented as a ‘trophy’ to the JCB Literary Prize winners   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

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The story behind the trophy for the JCB Prize for Literature — a sculpture by artist duo Thukral & Tagra

Over the last 24 hours, literary critics have taken to social media platforms to congratulate debut novelist Madhuri Vijay, for winning this year’s JCB Prize for Literature, for her book The Far Field. In addition to the prize money, Vijay also receives a trophy, in the form of a sculpture created by the Delhi-based artist duo Thukral & Tagra.

Sumir Tagra, one half of the artist duo, says that this collaboration came about when British-Indian novelist Rana Dasgupta, who is the literary director of the prize, reached out to them to discuss his vision. “It was an open brief,” recalls Tagra. “But we were clear from day one that this shouldn’t look like a traditional trophy, that it cannot be heavy, and that it should be one that lasts very long.”

The trophy — Malayali author Benyamin won it last year for Jasmine Days, before Vijay this year for her book set in Kashmir — is titled Mirror Melting.

Thukral & Tagra at their studio in Gurugram in 2017.

“We were looking at the idea of reverie. Reading a book is like a time-travelling exercise, but it’s also one that we travel to with our own unique perspectives. So I came up with the simple idea of a mirror,” says Tagra.

The final sculpture is made of aluminium, and bends and twists into a various angles within itself. It’s an ambiguous shape, which to some might end up looking like a blob, but this very nature of its angles makes it a fun mirror in itself.

When placed on a printed sheet of paper for instance, some words magnify, some reflect many times smaller than the original, and some are out of shape — mirroring how we experience a story we read.

For more about the artists: Thukralandtagra.com

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 7:18:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/the-art-thats-part-of-the-jcb-prize-for-literature/article29896355.ece

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