Saturday, August 18, 2012

Facets of engaging works by Prajakta Potnis

If the works of Sumedh Rajendran and Tushar Joag, as essayist Renuka Sawhney mentions (‘A Floating Object - The Guild Collection – Series I – 2012’ at The Guild, Mumbai) , indicate an awareness in the inorganic, a playfulness, and a willingness of the inorganic, the manmade - to conjoin with the organic, where the conflict is oft times, not couched in overtly antagonistic terms yet has wider implications that stem from without rather than from within the organic - in Prajakta Potnis’ works there is no escaping the implication of the contact between the organic and the inorganic.

The three postulate together, the transference of consciousness from organic matter to inorganic matter that is physical and material, the ordered organic and the unexpected eruptive/disruptive fractures of unstoppable mutations/growth, and the absurdity and inevitability of such mutations.   

There is clearly a brooding quality to the still life photographs by Prajakta Potnis. In a confined space, we are given access to the private life of a vegetable while it ruminates its mortality. The frame of the still life – the inside of a refrigerator - partially darkened, serves as a room, a private space - while the subjects of the still life – a cauliflower, groups of tomatoes - form portraits. 

But there is a duality inherent, as Renuka Sawhney underlines, in the shelf life of a vegetable in a refrigerator and the growth of other bodies (organic) that attach themselves to the vegetable as it sits in hibernation. The time element between portraiture (eternal) conflicts with that of a living thing (transient) within a space intended as a tomb. Amidst these frictions, the irrepressibility of growth in whatever form (seeping, crawling, gestating and perhaps encroaching) becomes a nefarious action; a hidden act of survival in mutated form.

In the artist’s case, the battleground is a private affair carried out within the confines of the organic body, where the action occurs in terms of change and violence within the body, at a microscopic level, rather like the faces of George Condo’s portraits, where the interaction between subject and environment entombs itself on the face of the subject by way of organic growth that is just below the skin, pulling the face in a grotesque parody of court jesters. It’s the growth reaction that sets off a melancholy in the environment, as Renuka Sawhney rightfully highlights.

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