Saturday, September 29, 2012

‘The Return of the Phantom Lady (Sinful City)’

In a new series, entitled In ‘The Return of the Phantom Lady (Sinful City)’, Pushpamala N’s iconic protagonist gets caught again in a dark web of murder, intrigue and foul play in contemporary Mumbai.

While rescuing an orphaned schoolgirl, she runs into the underworld and their land grab operations, which stop at nothing. Turning investigator, she tracks the mystery, following and being chased through the principal sites of their evil operations - old film theatres, slums and new glass-faced office blocks.

This scintillating set of 21 color photographs is on view at Nature Morte, Gurgaon. This is her fifth solo show with the gallery, the first being in collaboration with the British Council in 2003.

From 1996 to ’98, she created Phantom Lady or Kismet. The artist’s first ‘photo-performance’ work comprised of 25 black-and-white prints. Billed as a Photo Romance and shot in the film noir style, the thriller starred Pushpamala as not only the Phantom Lady but also her doppelganger, the lost twin sister ‘The Vamp’.

The work acquired a cult status and has been exhibited all over the world, prompting the artist to create its sequel. Shot in seductively rich colors in various cinematic sites of the city, the work was conceived for ‘Project Cinema City’ and exhibited at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

Born in 1956 in Bangalore, Pushpamala N. lives and works in both Bangalore and New Delhi. She did her BA and MA in Sculpture from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University in Baroda after studying Economics, English and Psychology at Bangalore University.

The artist had her first solo show in 1983 in Bangalore and since then has had solo exhibitions in galleries in different cities of India and abroad – including Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Paris, New York, and Chicago. Her video works have been screened in major film festivals all over the world. In 2010 she was awarded a residency to work in Paris and create a series of photographs at the legendary Studio Harcourt for the exhibition ‘Paris, Mumbai, New Delhi’ at the Centre Pompidou (2011).

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