A collection of short spurts of thought which result in the funny, thought-provoking, poignant worldview of a Madam who lives in Pune, India - the Oxford of the East, the Home of the Shrewsbury Biscuit, and the road-accident fatality-and-brain-damage capital of the world.
There are spaces that intersperse pieces of
music – and those spaces are silence, so essential for a musical piece to
breathe and reverberate.
Then there are spaces that intersperse
periods of music media – and those spaces are overlaid with melancholic
uncertainty; the regretful passing of an era. I chose one of those spaces to
work with for this edition of Art Mandai 2019, dismembering audio cassettes and
using their elements to create a fun nostalgia RIP series. Along with the
cassette elements, discarded fabric and related items have been used to create
mini statements about our life and times.
For eons, a musical
performance could be heard only once. From the cave people singing in their mud
pools to the classical performers of yore, the moment could never be
recaptured. Even in the recent past, people would walk all day to reach the
site where Bhimsen Joshi was expected to sing ragas and abhangas all night long!
Today, music surrounds us, and often – as in the case of advertising jingles or
car reverse horns – we are hardly even aware of it. During this magical
journey, a few small spaces stand out. The era of the audio cassette is a
significant one, being the first time that recorded music was becoming
available to everyone; the first time that people could even make their own
recordings. The generation which lived through this period experienced it as
one of intense, disbelieving joy and gratitude for the music. My collection for
Art Mandai 2019 is a tribute to those who clung on to their precious audio
cassettes, a means to commemorate precious belongings for which their homes no
longer have the space.
The Velvet Underground and Warhol’s banana
Underground’s 1967 debut album had a controversial cover by Andy Warhol: the
image of a banana with a “Peel Slowly And See” instruction. The banana peel was
a sticker that revealed a flesh-coloured fruit beneath. This art work presents
a pale imitation of Andy Warhol’s banana, embellished with crotchet flowers created
from audio cassette tape.
This annual show will be held, as always, at Pune's iconic Mahatma Phule Mandai from 8.30am to 2.30pm on 26 January 2019.