July 31, 2011

Andrea Anastasio, Luigi Anastasio, Avinash Veeraraghavan at Galleryske, Bangalore

Andrea Anastasio, Luigi Anastasio and Avinash Veeraraghavan: Synesthesia
GALLERYSKE, Bangalore
25 July - 3 September 2011



GALLERYSKE presents a three-person show, Synesthesia that features works by Andrea Anastasio, Luigi Anastasio and Avinash Veeraraghavan. The collective history of the three artists is longstanding with their friendship spanning almost two decades. Andrea and Avinash met in 1993 when Andrea started tutoring Avinash at the Centre for Learning in Bangalore, as part of the post-school studies programme. Luigi, a painter and Andrea’s brother also joined him in India and the three started to share a space for the next six years where their home became a meeting point for friends, travellers and visitors. This is the first time that the three will be showing their works together.

Despite the immediate differences in their individual idioms, the artists share a similarity in their approach to art – where their art becomes inseparable from life and swings from one to the other contaminating both through insightful processes that at times begin with an experience in daily life and are translated into the art and at other times are born in the artwork itself and are infused into the quotidian flow of time

The works are displayed in the house-like space of the gallery such that they are approached without demarcations and distinctions thus making the viewer experience the works in one continuous alternation of media from video to painting, from photography to sculpture.

Avinash Veeraraghavan’s works on display are all recent video works. Titled Short Story: Mouthwash, Short Story: Thirty-Six and Short Story: Brine, an underlying and unavoidable nihilism is etched through all three. Short Story: Mouthwash addresses issues of being and becoming as well as the interaction between the individual and his milieu. In the work, generating bubbles becomes as natural as breathing, where the body is not surrounded by air but sunk in fluid. The bubble/matter generated by the mouth never leaves the body to follow the flow but gets instead re-absorbed into the body in a self-sustained yet nihilistic process. This insurgency is reflected in Short Story: Thirty Six where despite the vigorous movement of sails, a ship never actually takes off. The cloying immobility is accentuated through slow and gentle reel-like movements and with the sound of a metronome keeping beat. Short Story: Brine as well, carries the same ambiguity in the illusionary feeling of flow: the water continuously drips in an endless and eternal flow without causing a barrage or overflow. Untitled (I am my own past) is a sculptural work made out of stacks of pictures shot in the past few years that are die-cut in the shape of soap bubbles referencing Veeraraghavan’s process of building images: random juxtaposition of pictures denoting the forming of the artist’s own consciousness.

Luigi Anastasio’s paintings belong to three different bodies of work made between 2008 and 2010. The earliest amongst these are characterised by the use of a technique that resembles Japanese multi-layered lacquering where several layers of pigments are applied on the surface of wooden panels and subsequently worked upon in order to compose the images by abrading the surfaces. At times the actual marks of fire enhance the depth of the painting, adding a sense of urgency while attempting to control natural elements that are the constituents of life.

The more recent paintings on paperboard (2010) are shown for the first time. The paintings’ depth is reached through spontaneous gestures where colour, materials and, at times, words convey a sense of immediacy and clarity of vision. In the works on metal panels, Luigi's sheer passion for paint is shared with the viewer in an almost playful way. Thick and yet transparent layers of enamel are poured on the aluminium surface almost left alone as if he, together with the viewer were witnessing the very act of the birth of colour.

In all three bodies of work, time is an essential factor in the making of the work itself; inherent in the laborious and often slow processes involved in the works’ creation.

Andrea Anastasio typically uses an assortment of media and materials – photography, video and mixed-material sculptural works. The works display the possibilities of altering existing materials in our daily use to address issues of individuality, becoming, impermanence and vulnerability. As in many other works, the result piece bears the alteration marks that attest the process and substantially alter the nature of the thing involved, whether it is a piece of material, an object or a picture.

In Other Shadows, photographic prints are randomly torn and then glued together in layers to recompose the original image. The tearing and subsequent gluing of the images alludes to individuality versus the ubiquitous mass culture that has soaked into today’s world and also to the melancholic, yet effective act of ‘creating’ something that already exists in the real world. This is seen in other works like Sinopia (2009) which is made using coloured t-shirts that have been cut off leaving a trace of the original object, much like a drawing of it.

In Pinned up (#2 & #3), 2011, necklaces are nailed onto a wall, thus manipulating the object into a catalyst for linguistic short-circuits. In Jungle Mall, Andrea takes the familiar and turns it on its head. Using packaging of consumer products and spreading them open and lining them with fake animal fur that bear faint resemblance to poacher’s trophies he continues his commentary on mass consumption.

Scattered among the wall pieces and the sculptural works are photo-frames showing photographic works shot in the past four years. Each loop contains a series of images that rapidly fade one after the other in slide-shows rhythmically synchronised with serial music composed by Steve Reich and Philip Glass in the '60s and '70s. The soundtracks humorously charge the work with references to historical minimalism. The works reveal a curious eye that encourages an awakening of attention to everything that surrounds us in our daily life, especially in so-called trivial contexts, where the repetitiveness of gestures make us often miss latent and more poetic aspects of reality.

Colour wash is a work that exemplifies this- shot in 2011; it is a sequence of 67 pictures of laundry spinning in a washing machine. Each picture has been taken at the pause between the spinnings at every change of rotational direction. Every bundle of coloured clothes that is accidentally formed at every pause results in a unique and unrepeatable fabric "sculpture".

GALLERYSKE
2 Berlie Street
Longford Town
Bangalore - 560 025 - India
www.galleryske.com

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