“The question to ask is where does a work of art come from? It comes from lived life, from what impacts you. It takes from art history, cinema, literature, poetry, theatre or even stories told by people. I don’t think there ever really were good old times. That’s why in some great literature and works of art, darkness has been a crucial source. It also comes from the possibility of redemption, because one can’t live entirely with darkness, and, if one could, one wouldn’t be self-reflective when making art.”
Ranbir Kaleka, Interview in The Indian Express
Not Anonymous: Waking to the Fear of a New Dawn
The multimedia work Not Anonymous: Waking to the Fear of a New Dawn projects its narratives – and mysteries – through videos on six surfaces at various depths. There’s a man with his head practically in the clouds, shooting arrows, one after another. There’s a partially visible man – a target? – riddled with arrows. And there’s a donkey that bleeds when an arrow hits its target. In an interview, Kaleka says of donkeys: “My uncle once commented on how intelligent they (donkeys) were, how they helped build towns and cities that became great civilisations. To me, they seemed to be mistreated. In one of the works in this exhibition, we see the severed head of a donkey which bleeds every time some innocent unwary victim falls to random but insidiously fired arrows.”
From ‘Waking to the Fear of a New Dawn’, 2017-2018, single channel projection on burnt wood, 275cm x 122cm, 9 min 18 sec loop.
Camera: Pradip Saha and Raj Mohanty; Editing: Raj Mohanty; Sound: Pradip Saha (variations on the score by MihályVig); Special thanks to protagonists: Shambhu, Naresh and Girish.
House of Opaque Water
How do you cope with the loss of home? By using memory, maybe making miniature clay models of your home? Then letting it go again, immersing it in water as if you are celebrating the last phase of Durga Puja? Part narrative documentary and part installation, this work of video art set in the Sunderbans dramatizes the lives of people—and their loss—as they face the effects of climate change on their low-lying island-homes.
From ‘House of Opaque Water’, 2012, 3 channel projection with sound on 3 panels, 171.6cm x 914.4cm (variable), 10 min 33 sec loop.
Camera: Pradip Saha and Gautam Pandey; Research: Pradip Sah; Sound: Pradip Saha; Editing: Pradip Saha and Rajan Kumar Singh; Special thanks to the protagonists: Sheikh Lal Mohan and Tushar Jiwarajka and the islanders of Sagardweep.