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Featured Artist      
Paribartana Mohanty      

I can categorise my current formal as well as conceptual engagements into three propositions:

Material
‘Material and materiality’ is the subject of my study. My major struggle has been to address the obsession, fear and desire that any material evokes, to understand its time and cycle of transformation, to dig into the historic and cultural knowledge/memory that a‘material’ carries or the psychological and conceptual behaviour or frameworks it suggests and embodies. For example, worshipping a ‘stone’ as god adds new layers to the understanding of materiality of stone in general, or a stone when sculpted or made part of an architecture transforms from its ordinariness and gains another functional character, or a stone as an archaeological discovery carries a representative essence of material culture.

The idea of reading history of mankind through material intrigues me, such as the division of history into ‘stone’ age, ‘iron’ age, ‘bronze’ age, ‘copper’ age and ‘golden’age. I’m interested in myths and fictions where the human body (of flesh and blood) is transformed into a natural material. Like, Midas, the Greek King blessed with the golden touch, or Ahalya in the epic ‘Ramayana’was cursed to become a stone, or the popular film characters of iron-man, ice-man, stone-man, sand-man, robots and the diseases like silver-surfer, vitiligo and Proteus syndrome etc. or the idea of body as perfume (like the psychopath in the film ‘Perfume’who murders girls to extract their scent).The thought of transferring body into a material is horrifying, pushes the body to adjust into the shape of the host material, suggesting pain, imprisonment, the dualism of alive yet dead and of duration through consciousness, stillness/stiffness of the body.


Landscape/ space
Conceptually, the idea of a‘landscape’ allows establishing a ‘subject’ in a ‘context’, bringing many propositions/elements to the fore: distance, panorama, perspective, whole-ness, wide-angle, horizontality, the rectangle, objectivity, the outside and time. I play with space that exists in one’s memory, or evoke memory of a landscape or landscapes that function like explosion of memory. It could be poor or hazy image from the subconscious or experiential or a myth or fiction. In memory the time/an event never dies but transforms. The landscape becomes immortal. I am interested in evoking it with the idea of fiction. My specific interest is in the textures of urban city and the philosophical or psychological contents of it.

Geometry

I am reading geometry and science with ART. I have been researching different geometric shapes, patterns and forms in the city that are organic and as spontaneous. I am interested in the scientific geometry of ‘golden ratio’, and simultaneous reading of Greek geometrician Euclid’s ‘Elements’. His obsolete definitions of line, circle, point and triangle make more sense when I read it with the modern notions of geometry, and also when one sees it as the knowledge-system of a time and in time. In my work I deal with how these geometric shapes add three dimensionality to the two dimensional surface? The impact of geometric shapes is psychological when they appear as part of an architectural and mechanical reproduction. There is a sense of magic and fear in it, which challenges and inspires me. I am curious to explore Einstein’s‘theory of relativity’ in the process of art making.

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