Thursday, April 11, 2013

Treading unusual artistic territories

A solo show of unconventional artworks by renowned artist duo, Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra, is being hosted at Art Plural Gallery, Singapore. The two, widely recognized and appreciated in the international arena for their unique creations, have been treading unusual artistic territories for close to a decade.

Influenced by life and trends in all their diversity, their humorous albeit provocative oeuvre appeals to an aware global audience because it addresses universal themes related to identity, change and consumerism. Their paintings, sculptures and installations address the realities of Indian society in particular, mirroring aspirations, expectations and fantasies of common people. The prolific duo looks to juxtapose graphic design with peculiar high art references, fusing clichés of the fast-rising middle class in the country and international popular culture.

Here they explore the various socio-political issues faced by the Punjabi Diaspora. It’s a subject the nuances of which they know first-hand since many of their colleagues and friends have migrated in recent years. They aspire to leave their home country and re-live their fantasies abroad, largely perpetuated and cultivated by the mass media. While unveiling a show of their works, Frédéric de Senarclens, CEO of Art Plural Gallery mentioned, “The art of Thukral and Tagra is not only relevant to India, but strikes a chord with all who are living in modern society and moving between cultures.”

Elaborating on their new body of work, an accompanying note states, “The ‘windows of opportunity’ they seek are referenced in portraits of young individuals framed in airplane windows, waiting patiently for escape. Another witty choice of imagery hints that a difficult reality belies this dream: these portraits look to be encased in pinball machines, likening the process of getting a visa or living abroad to a never-ending game where one is thrown back and forth, jostled between reality and fantasy.”

Most of their work addresses the issues, cultural shifts, problems and beliefs of people in India today, harboring a dream laced with anxiety and insecurity. For an added element of wit and fun, very much characteristic of the two, a site-specific installation of a running track meanders through part of the gallery space.

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