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Lost and found objects: Between art and monotony

Author: Sonam Chaturvedi

isn’t it good sometimes to be stuck in traffic and stay stuck not reach the destination destiny anywhere i have an orange in my bag it travels with meto work and back home i always forget to eat it it stays in a corner of my bag i like it there stuck waiting while I listen to the impatient honking cars flickering lights people with music in their ears and games in their hands but the orange stays sitting in it’s dark warm corner waiting At last I had to throw the orange, it started decaying.

But I bought more to carry in my bag, as there was something missing, the bag weighed lighter and I didn’t like the emptiness.

This post is primarily about my practice, and touches on some personal thoughts and everyday experiences which stimulate my works, including the work I did in the residency at Utsha. The above images are of an impromptu installation at a group show at NIV art gallery, New Delhi. I had used the above poem for this work, which is an echo of my daily struggles and journeys. I installed it around a pillar as a never-ending stream of thoughts portraying the journey connoted in the poem; there is also a performative act at play while viewing the work.

I was once confronted with the question: what do you do in life apart from art making? I didn’t understand the question then, and even now I don’t, because everything I look at, I do, I’m constantly thinking in terms of expressing myself through art. When I was in Mumbai for a residency, every evening I would walk two miles from my studio to bandstand, aimlessly wandering, just to touch the ocean and catch a glimpse of the drowning sun. I would always return with my pockets filled with random objects thrown by the waves for me. At the end of the residency I had an accumulation of sea shells, broken terracotta, marble icons of gods and stones studded with sea animals which gave off a rotten smell and lingered for a very long time in my pocket. I was unsure at that time what I would do with this small museum, but during the transition from Mumbai to Bhubaneswar my ideas also travelled, and I brought this carton of objects with me to Utsha.

The objects were collected from the coastal line of Mumbai and left in Bhubaneswar and in the sea at Chandrabhaga beach in Konark. The display was done to create an experience of finding the works or chancing upon them, just the way I had found these objects.

There is a memory attached to each object which makes it valuable and personal to me. This work is about leaving these objects back in nature but at a different place, and in exchange gathering something to mark its departure, which includes another object, sound, thoughts, impressions, photos, videos et al.

Lost and Found Memories is a series of exchanges which do not cease with time, since it is intrinsic to me and my obsession with collecting. The work is progressing with new objects collected and left, to collect further.

About the Author:

Sonam Chaturvedi is a visual artist based in Delhi currently. She holds a Master’s in Visual Arts from Shiv Nadar University Delhi and a Bachelor’s in Visual Arts with specialisation in Sculpture from MS University, Baroda. She completed her Utsha Residency in July 2017 along with Archana Das. To see a video of her residency open day and the display of Lost and Found Memories at Utsha please click here.

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