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Extending the frontiers of art

PRIYADARSSHINI SHARMA

Aditi Nayar's video installation is an adept mélange of collage, animation, digital effects and painting.


It is a technique used in advertising all the time. In fact, even when you are watching television you are bombarded with sensory bytes... Aditi Nayar



ARTISTIC IMAGINATION: Aditi Nayar's creation combines different media.

Video installation art is relatively young in India. And 23-year-old Aditi Nayar is one of the few video installation artistes in India. She, along with 16 South Indian artistes, is exhibiting her works at a show called `Turning the Wheel: Traditions Unbound,' at Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, from October 20.

A new dimension

Explains Aditi, who graduated from the Chelsea College of Art, London, "Video art is about space and assimilating information from this space."

So it is about art that mirrors life and mirrors it in this given space. Video installation adds a spatial dimension to the otherwise two-dimensional painting on the wall. The assimilation of information depends on the bank of experiences of the viewer.

Different chords are stored in the individual subconscious, sometimes subtly and sometimes obviously. This produces an effect that jerks the subconscious, thus touching the mind. "It is a technique used in advertising all the time. In fact, even when you are watching television you are bombarded with sensory bytes: sounds, sights, pictures and text in combinations of priority. You imbibe some things almost automatically and some things leave a mark on the subconscious. That unconsciously left mark is what advertisers make use of. In video installation, art uses the same principle."

So Aditi's `Fruit of the Loon,' a one-minute video in loop, is projected before a kinetic sculpture of motorised fibreglass hands that manipulates an imaginary puppet in space. On the video, a puppet moves mechanically, a character that resembles Aditi. Her hands, legs and body move in fits and starts as the threads pull her in different directions and as water, fire, rain and earth blaze, shower and burst, the character is burnt.

Half and full texts run on and off the screen creating a rigmarole that leaves viewers in a state of comprehension and confusion. And the viewer gropes through this continuous bombarding of imagery, sound, drama and text to search for a meaning.

Layers of meaning

As you watch the drama for some time, layers of meaning begin to unfold.

So you find running messages and you decode it. `Stitch in time', `Andros, Eros, Ethos equals Pathos,' `Famine feasts your eyes,' `Rabbit's lucky watch' `Gubbish' and `Some truths can only be guessed,' finds the young artist using artistic license to the hilt.

"That's my own bit of fun," she tells you about some captions that actually flash by too fast for the conscious mind to process but this does not alleviate from the higher truth that the installation projects.

The puppeteer's mechanical hands continue to manoeuvre the puppet. The higher truth reigns and this post-modern artistic medium comes out the winner.

There's one running indecipherable message that remains to haunt just like that sound, that sight, those words and some thoughts that have an intangible presence.

The scale of the hands, three sizes that of human hands, deftly moving, ceaselessly controlling destinies is the powerful statement that has been interestingly packaged in an ultra-modern medium through the keen, precocious eye of a young, promising artist.

Background sounds of rain, fire and nuclear clouds were digitally created.

Hand painted raindrops, collages, digitalised effects and animation skills are wonderfully blended in this interesting installation, `Fruit of the Loon.'

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