Sunday, January 20, 2019

Mandai 26 Jan 2019 – Between spaces

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

The Velvet 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.
Do visit!