By Rupanjali Baruah
Installation art explores a world outside of visible boundaries. It is not merely experimental or bold, but a physical embodiment of concepts of how the human conditions and environment become the most potential sites of installing changing, challenging concepts. Installation artists break the frames of the paintings to liberate from the age-old clutches of conventional making and viewing of art; they perforate the canvases, shoot at them and use live brushes, bring found objects to their created spaces. And they re-figure the minimal art objects to redefine space, bring down the sculptures from the pedestals. They employ disparate use of concepts with sculpture incorporating everyday and natural materials chosen for their evocative qualities of sound,performance, immersive virtual reality.
Installation art suggest the need for it to be seen as a separate discipline that art cannot exist in isolation and so part of artists’ psyche and part of cosmos always exist side by side in all their works. Pitched against the socio-political realities of current times, they reveal an urge to break the white cube limitations of a gallery with their individual understanding of space to conceive something that redefine the meaning of their surroundings.
Alak J Pathak
Alak J Pathak of Assam, now based in Lithuania, is a sculptor who creates sensual and spiritual works that are sublime and thought evoking. He adopts the installation format as contemplative spaces in which the viewer is soothed into reflecting on turbulent topics like disaster, ecology, strife, illness, and humanism. Although he is concerned with social and political themes, his installations are sensual spaces as he confronts the viewer with an overload of images and sounds about such issues as existentialism and its tensions.Alak toys with ideas of space and society, seen and unseen, identity and perception that have a way of causing his viewers to rethink of the degeneration eating into the social fabric. Hisinstallations are installed on the site where it is exhibited, often incorporating materials or physical features, including all the found objects that belong to the site and incidentally they become part of the installation.The genre of site-specific, three-dimensional breaks the boundaries between indoor and outdoor where the two terms often overlap.
Alak intrigues the viewers to feel that something is going wrong in the society, their participation itself is an act of supporting his protest and that is a point of departure. He has left nothing unobserved: fallen trees, buildings, architecture, ambience of the city streets, and even the audience achieve a state of total artistic immersion.By avoiding symbolism, Alak’s installation art maintains a sort of indexical value in it, so context becomes a language in installation art.
He employs a huge three-dimensional bewildering variety of materials and arranges them into a purposefully disorganized pile of art. He once placed an enormous pile of garbage in front of a hill and when radically observed from the ground, it completely obscured the view of the hill; trash overtaking nature if looked at that way. He induces critical vigilance towards the environment by deconstructing and reconstructing ordinary elements of construction, mostly scaffoldings made of bamboo, natural fibre, recycled plastic, industrial waste which is to expose the underlying tenuousness of our everyday reality.
Tuichindrai Jayanta is an artist and sculptor from Tripura who is presently based in Assam. He is helplessly possessed by his surrounding violence and anarchy; there is a sheer bankruptcy of finer sensibilities that become apparent in all the elements that he comes to employ in his creations. The canvas is no longer the real element to convey these harsh truths, he needs something more real and pulsating spaces and objects to relate his feelings because only these can share his inner turmoil. He becomes part of his entire visual phenomenon, the creator and the creation. Gun shots, the thud of brutal boots on dry asphalt of a city street, the cry of agony of a dear friend when shot in the head, maimed fingers on the river bank to reflect on how elections stilt human lives come alive as he moulds those sights and sounds to communicate the shape of chaos. He is born at a time when values are being eroded, every belief is falling apart and material pursuits overtake personal choices. His thoughts therefore emerge as shards of bullets, instead of the ephemeral moonbeams which he still cherishes, he is compelled to live and survive within a strange whirlpool where stasis and change are interdependent. He is the new voices of protest emerging from the shores of the river water.
Jayanta’s human-like installations make him take the context of a small, intimate setting using layered historical references to discuss contemporary conditions such as human ethos of good living against the backdrop of sectarian violence. And so his sculptures invoke social history, ancient sculptures of fertility figures made from pebbles, tar paint and fiberglass base and the wide-eyed people are reminiscent of popular folk sculptures.
For Jayanta, every phase of his life and its struggles create a strange palpable restlessness as reflected as footprints on his installations that provide new dimensions to the social conflicts that he explores like non-linear methods. With the use of textile, bullets, bricks, pillows and mattresses, traditional costumes, larger than life projections of human parts at unexpected locations and semi-abstract music, he represents how inner chaos overpower human sensibilities.