Monday, February 25, 2013

‘Montessori: Lessons in Economics’ at Nature Morte, Berlin

As the title of an ongoing solo show by L.N. Tallur implies, the artist tries to assume the role of a cheeky educator, setting up participatory experiments carefully alongside sculptural propositions that provide so-called solutions for the lingering economic crisis.  Tallur’s highly orchestrated presentations look to control and manipulate the expectations of viewers and echo the ‘packaging’ of solutions that are known from the realms of education and politics.

Born in 1971 in the state of Karnataka, he received a BFA degree in painting from the Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts in Mysore in 1996, an MFA degree in museology from the MS University in Baroda (1998), and an MA in Fine Art from the Metropolitan University in Leeds, UK (2002).

‘Montessori: Lessons in Economics’ is his first solo in Europe. It brings together a number of recent sculptures, which exemplify Tallur’s wit and deft manipulation of materials while commenting on politics and society. Having studied both art and museology, he draws from a wide spectrum of cultural references, ranging from art history, Hindu iconography, a globalized economy and popular culture.

An accompanying note elaborates: “A series of personal migrations from his original hometown of Koteswara (a village in the southern Indian state Karnataka), to the likes of Leeds in the U.K. and his current home Daegu City in South Korea have sharpened L.N.Tallur’s eye for the complexities of trading in cultural goods. He often uses reproductions of classical Asian sculptures as a starting point for his work, which he then manipulates, injures or even decapitates to accentuate the absurdities of cultural, monetary and symbolic exchange values.”

Another re-occurring theme in his work is the nature of value itself. In several works he uses actual coins, sometimes polished so as to be washed of their sins and civilized, or embedded in concrete to become eternal, they poignantly point to our complex relationship with currencies and wealth, laden with desire, fear and anxiety.

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