Locus Solus: Rasa * 12

A meeting of creative thoughts, minds and spaces leads to mercurial manifestations. Bringing together artists and collaborator from diverse geographical and cultural sites promises surprising and unexpected consequences. The 5th NIV International Artists Residency introduces six Indian artists from across the country (Baroda, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Mysore), and six foreign artists (Spain, Ireland/Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.A.). Exposed to the churning energy of Delhi and Neb Sarai for a brief period of time, and to the myriad aesthetic inclines of each other, the journeys undertaken by each one and as a group cannot be reduced to a simple result. Thus, the incarnation of this formula: Locus Solus: Own Space (sort of akin to a room of one’s own); Rasa: aesthetics and emotions; * as a signifier and multiplier; and the number 12 to denote the 12 artists and the year 2012. Inherent in the title, Locus Solus – meaning solitary or unique place – refers to the proto-Surrealist novel by Raymond Roussel (1914) in which a scientist named Canterel fits out luxurious laboratories in a villa near Paris. Each room demonstrates one of the ingenious inventions of his encyclopaedic mind, yet, on the whole, the villa displays the bizarreness of a shrine devoted to pure rationality and mechanical reproduction. In this residency, the atmosphere is quite the opposite. Surrounded by the bustle of the external environment, NIV is a place of calmness and concentration. However, within each studio, there is highly idiosyncratic energy happening. Its positive implications comprise the variety of the art works created during the residency and those which shall be exhibited at the Lalit Kala Akademi in October 2012. As such it fosters and revolves upon the constant presence and catalyzing role of the twelve artists. It considers the artist as a modern Canterel who distils his unique piece of art out of the components of fashion, design, architecture, film, music and information systems in his laboratory. In particular, it examines the power within boundaries and the subsequent specificity of site; identity and its demarcation; the crossing of borders between site and vision, between individuals and the group. What unfolds, what happens within the work created and considered? Drawing from the Indian traditions, the henceforth discussed concepts shall be integrated into the fields of sensorial awareness and depiction. A rasa (Sanskrit: ?? lit. 'juice' or 'essence') denotes an essential mental state and is the dominant emotional theme of a work of art or the primary feeling that is evoked in the person that views, reads or hears such a work. Although the concept of rasa is fundamental to many forms of Indian art, including dance, music, musical theatre, cinema and literature, the treatment, interpretation, usage and actual performance of a particular rasa differs greatly between different styles and schools, and the huge regional differences even within one style. These influences or inspirations used in a variety of ways ranging from its use as a way to illustrate the ultimate primordial creative power, to expressing the capacity or power of words to convey meaning. From within their individual studio spaces, next to one another, different meanings and interpretations of the potency or the potential to produce emit, like smells and sensations wafting about the walls, an assertion of inherent creative aptitude. The materials selected by the artists, whether found objects, discarded materials, recycled, reconverted, or facets of modern technology and media, represent the artists’ adoption and adaptation of the energies and sources in the environment. Whether the oeuvres created during the course of the residency and then exhibited at this point in time reflect an evolution in creative expression remains a highly personal truth. Osmosis and absorption of internal and external influences undertake highly diverse paths from one artist or being to another. In asking how such an experience or time period will affect an artist and their work, it is necessary to step back and allow the sense of time to expand, to stretch into an unforeseeable future. How each of the artists shall proceed from this moment on shall prove exciting and unexpected. Nevertheless, their interaction with one another, their myriad experimentations and outputs, their forays into their surroundings, shall prove fruitful on multiple levels. Bharata Muni enunciated the eight rasas in the Natyasastra, an ancient work of dramatic theory, written during the period between 200 BC and 200 AD. Each rasa, according to Natyasastra, has a presiding deity and a specific colour. There are 4 pairs of rasas. S?ngaram (Jaxkja) Love, Attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: light green. Hasyam (gkL;a) Laughter, Mirth, Comedy. Presiding deity: Pramata. Colour: white. Raudram (jkSnze~) Fury. Presiding deity: Rudra. Colour: red. Karu?yam (dk#.;a) Compassion, Tragedy. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour: grey. Bibhatsam (ohHkRla) Disgust, Aversion. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: blue Bhayanakam (Hk;kuda) Horror, Terror. Presiding deity: Kala. Colour: black Viram (ohja) Heroic mood. Presiding deity: Indra. Colour: yellowish Adbhutam (vn~Hkqra) Wonder, Amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow (See reference - John Dowson, A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology & Religion: Geography, History and Literature. Rupa & Co., New Delhi). The residency and exhibition focus on the elaboration of one of the above themes through a series of works, or analyze the work of a single artist in full details. It plainly shows the pitiful inadequacy of theory as compared to first-hand experience. Rather paradoxically, the descriptions are quite illuminating in contrast to the considerable flow of theoretical studies as they give a brief but clear account of the projects and call our attention to the ephemeral nature of the work of art.
Read More