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The ripple maker

MULTI-DIMENSIONAL APPROACH “Quantum Entanglements”  

Neither Parvathi Nayar nor her works are new to the art lovers of the Capital. This time around, the ongoing show “Drawing In Time” by this Chennai-based visual artist, is different. Part of “Dissonant Images”, an exhibition of three mini-solos by Koralegedara Pushpakumara and P.S. Jalaja and Nayar, she feels it will allow the connoisseurs a better glimpse and feel of her art works leading to contemplation at a deeper level.

Nayar is well known as a pioneer of “drawn-sculpture”, a three-dimensional sculptural form covered with drawings like her “A Story Of Flight”, a 20-feet high work which is now a part of Jai He art programme at the T2 Terminal on Mumbai International Airport. She was also part of the select Indian and foreign artists invited to be part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014-15 where she presented an installation of drawings and sound titled ‘The Fluidity Of Horizons’.

In an interaction Nayar talks about the theme of the exhibition, her show and the strands her works depict.

Excerpts:

Tell us about your solo show.

Many strands of thought come together for the body of work titled ‘Drawing in Time’ that is being showcased as one of three solos in the show ‘Dissonant Images’. ‘Drawing in Time’ is a very strongly layered body of work that can be read at different levels. It plays with notions about how we understand time; it reflects ongoing preoccupations with water; it asks questions about spatial realities in which we live. At the same time, it is also lyrical, poetic and meditative.

What is your view of dissonance referred to in this exhibition?

A part of my dissonance is with the reading of the drawing as merely two-dimensional because I believe that if you as a viewer investing your time in it, it becomes a multidimensional experience. The other aspect of dissonance comes through challenging the notion that science and arts are at two ends of a spectrum.

If, to paraphrase Shakespeare, art holds up a mirror to society, then my art does that by looking at the world through multiple lenses, macro and micro. It reflects the closer ties of philosophy and technology and science in our world. For example, if you need technology and science to invent a computer game, equally, you need philosophy to asks the logical/metaphysical questions that define the rules of the world, in which the game is set.

So yes, I play with the convergences of science and art in my work, as a way of asking questions about the spaces in which we live, within us, around us.

Could you explain the different layers your works take up, starting with water?

This is an ongoing strand of thought in my work, to look at water as a resource, as a water bodies in our environment and as something intimate and meditative. Water is both inherently abstract and something real, tangible. It is fun, playful, a part of our lives and also a problematic, highly fought over resource where every drop matters. Or should matter more than it does. Perhaps, our next wars will be fought over water. Some of the ideas can be seen in works such as ‘Through A Glass Lightly’ and ‘Four Moments Of A Whole’.

What about the notion of time?

The work is also a response to looking at the implications of time through such pieces as the trilogy of videos, ‘Of Time and Space’ or the work titled ‘To Other Places’, which is a combination of animation and drawn work.

Equally the idea of time is implicated in the drawings, and it is important not to read the artworks as merely “two dimensional”. Time is compressed into the space of the drawings, in the way they are made and in the subject matter. The work “Time’s Arrow” plays with seriality or progressive events, how things descend into greater chaos over time.

Time is an additional dimension in the work. The Ripple series in this show “Ripple I, II, III”. refers to the so-called ripple effect (such notions as waveforms, the dissemination of ideas, the ‘butterfly’ effect’ of an action). I depict in minute detail the abstract patterning of an expanding series of waves that happens when, for example, you drop a pebble into the water.

Or take the notion of time in the quantum world. In “Quantum Entanglements” which depicts twin drops of falling water, I am referencing the quantum idea of spooky action at a distance, which defies our everyday logic - that things far apart can instantaneously affect one another in the quantum world - it’s science, yes, but also inspires wonderment.

There are multiple strands at play. Is there any work which represents all of them together?

At the centre of the show is the work “Nocturne: Three Movements of a Crossing”, the largest piece at 38" x 108". ‘Nocturne...’ ties together the various themes at play in the show, using an ancient instrument of navigation, the nocturnal, as its focus. The work is a world born of our world, with references to the past and present – and future; attentive viewers will see even imagery from the iconic sci-fi ‘Dr Who Series’.

Tell us about the material and the form of the works being showcased.

The show has examples of hand drawn work, videos and animations. Drawing is not an esoteric art form, it is accessible because we have all held a pencil at some point in our lives, to learn how to write, to doodle on a notepad, to sketch. In today's technologically changing world, for me, the pencil also becomes a symbol of resistance to losing our sense of the real world, i.e. the pencil represents something real and tangible you hold and create with in the real world, that ties you to the real world as opposed to objects only created in a virtual world.

I use the pencil to create very complex form, whose imagery and ideas derive from scientific sources. The work plays with images generated by objects seen under a microscope, or through the lens of a telescope, frozen in time by high speed digital cameras, or as recorded by giant particle colliders.

How do you compare the art scene in Delhi and Chennai? Do you see any uniformity in the art world in the country?

I like the idea of the glocal, which is that the art scene must reflect the concerns of where you are but also simultaneously relate to universal themes or aspects.

I suppose you could say that Chennai is more involved with the exposition of the traditional arts whereas Delhi is a thoughtful and provocative platform for contemporary cutting edge art.

Tell us about your upcoming projects

Well, there’s lots buzzing and boiling, Among the various projects that I am involved in is an important Indo-German project initiated by the Goethe Institut in Chennai, involving seminars, public art, water management, and re-imagining the rivers in the city of Chennai, a part of which has already been realized. I am also part of a new art collective ‘The Hashtag#Collective’ between Chennai and Kolkota that seeks to explore site-and-place specific installations and interventions.

There is no established pathway, I make my own and never quite know where it will lead me, for I am not making art just to talk about what I know, but to explore what I do not know.

(On view at Exhibit320, F-320 Lado Sarai; till November 16)

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 4:00:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/The-ripple-maker/article16072992.ece

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