Two Projects : Sathi Guin & Srinivasa Prasad

Sathi Guin, Neural memory patterns, 2015. Water colour on paper, 36 x 48 cm.
Sathi Guin, Drawings in black, 2016.
Sathi Guin, No Title, 2018.
Srinivasa Prasad, Known to unknown, 2006.
Srinivasa Prasad, Known to unknown, 2006.
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Tucked away in a colonial bungalow, the exhibition “Two Projects, Sathi Guin and Srinivasa Prasad” harks back to ancient Indian philosophy. The one-storied house with a sloping roof and decorated canopied windows from the 19th century serves as Gallery Ske’s exhibition space in Bengaluru, India. Old world charm envelopes the viewer as one enters the spacious green courtyard and proceeds through the light filled vestibule into the small high ceilinged front room of the house. There one is accosted by Sathi Guin’s three small luminous paintings that stand out against the whitewashed walls.

TEXT: Bansie Vasvani
IMAGES: Courtesy of the artist

Sathi Guin, Neural memory patterns, 2015. Water colour on paper, 36 x 48 cm.

 

Like a Rorschach ink blot with ingenious protrusions and convoluted twists, Guin’s abstract water color paintings feature bright tangerine blobs that seep across the page. Without creating stagnant pools or awkward smudges, the paint appears to have spread like translucent liquid leaving odd bodily shapes in its wake. On closer inspection thin diaphanous lines made with the exquisiteness of miniature painting cover kidney shaped protrusions. Titled Neural Memory Patterns (2015), one couldn’t help but be reminded of delicate veins and arteries replenishing organs in the human body. Pulsating hearts and throbbing female uteri attached to thick blood vessels and capillaries seem to fill the page. Rich with life, these organs epitomize the idea of continuity and spirit—and of the constant ebb and flow intrinsic to existence—in which the swell of energy is followed by moments of separateness and space.

This very notion of perpetuity–which forms the bedrock of Indian philosophy—is enriched by the two accompanying series of works displayed in the adjoining rooms that flank both sides of the main entrance. In the large scale works from 2016 referred to as “Drawings in Black,” smooth flowing lines resemble the perpetual formations of embankments and mounds in the ocean. Guin evokes a miraculous sense of movement in the way the flat surface seems to bulge and protrude drawing us deeper and deeper into its well of constant motion. One is entranced by the illusion of a three-dimensional surface that continually undulates evoking the endless locomotion of the sea—and with it a profound sense of the irrevocable eternity of life and action.

 

Sathi Guin, Drawings in black, 2016.

 

Guin cements the idea of the ceaseless activated spirit – known as the atman in Indian philosophy – in her third and most recent “Untitled,” series made in 2018. Here, large canvases feature a plethora of red dots that resemble galaxies and stars in the sky connected by a geometric web of gossamer like threads. Like her two preceding series, a sense of serenity underlies her evocation of life and vitality in these water color paintings. The “Untitled,” series bring to mind the ancient Indian belief in the supreme soul represented by the stars that are everywhere, and that all of life is connected in oneness.

 

Sathi Guin, No Title, 2018.

 

A similar homage to the human spirit and the implication of birth, death, and rebirth can be seen in Srinivasa Prasad’s photo documentation of a site-specific ash-on-wall performance based installation produced in 2006. Titled “Known to Unknown,” ash retrieved from an unidentified body in an outdoor crematorium in Bengaluru is used by Prasad to create thousands of dots with his finger on the walls of a house. Prasad’s meditative repetition of dabbing his finger on the wall leads to the formation of 48,40,000 dots that cover 2000 square feet of wall space. The artist’s prolonged inquiry about death and its association with annihilation and impermanence let him to contemplate its converse effect wherein death is followed by resurrection and a new beginning.  For Prasad this ritualistic performance became what he describes in his note as “the four walls are transformed into a sacrificial ground where illusion and deeds are burnt away. The eternal rhythm of life and death pulsates on the walls.”

 

Srinivasa Prasad, Known to unknown, 2006.
Srinivasa Prasad, Known to unknown, 2006.

 

Although one is unable to experience first hand the visual impact of the combined effect of the black marks, or even for that matter experience the most crucial moment when a torchlight made from a converted spade is lit in the room to illuminate the marks, the photographs enable the viewer to embrace Prasad’s expression and recreation of the energy that surrounds us. In this way, Guin’s paintings and Prasad’s most significant photo installation in the exhibition transport the viewer on a spiritual journey in which complex questions of life and death are not defined by individual experiences but by an overarching human desire to experience a larger cosmos, and the realm of the unknown. “Two Projects,” merge in the way both artists transcribe emotion to a metaphysical experience—and embody as Prasad observes the ability to “reconcile time with eternity.”

 

 

Sathi Guin & Srinivasa Prasad - Two Projects
28 Jul – 8 Sep 2018
Gallery SKE
Berlie Street, Bangalore

 

 

 

 

 
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