Mumbai-based gallery Chemould Prescott Road hosts a solo of new works by Pushpamala N. The series, entitled, ‘Avega - The Passion’, explores the characters of three women from the Ramayana as archetypal figures.
Set in fantasy environments, fateful incidents from the epic are played out on a spectacular stage in both still photographs and videos, with elaborate costuming and lighting to create powerful atmospheres.
The performance artist refers to various genres of image-making in her works, resulting in richly layered hybrids with multiple references. The artist is always the central protagonist in these dramas and the works function as documents of performances, as critiques of representational constructions, and as oblique self-portraits.
Born in 1956 in Bangalore, she lives and works in both Bangalore and New Delhi. Pushpamala N. earned BA and MA degrees in Sculpture from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda after studying Economics, English and Psychology at Bangalore University. She had her first solo in 1983 and since then has had shows in different cities of India and across the world, including Paris, New York and Chicago.
Her video works have been screened in film festivals all over the world and 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). She refers to various genres of image-making in her works, resulting in richly layered hybrids with multiple references.
Starting as a sculptor with an implied interest in narrative figuration, Pushpamala has gradually transitioned into casting herself as various curious characters, to cleverly personae in the genre of photo-performance. Collectively, her work tends to engage with postcolonial theory as well as a feminist historical gaze.
The artist is always the central protagonist in these dramas and the works function as documents of performances, as critiques of representational constructions, and as oblique self-portraits. Many of the works in the exhibition refer to theatre stills from the early 20th century, while others use early cinema as their models.
(Image courtesy: Chemould Prescott Road)