EAS artist, Ankur Yadav from Vadodara, India, describes his latest project, 'Orbiting the Black Sun’, and the intellectual framework that drives his exploratory art practice.
'Orbiting the Black Sun' ¹ uses a diorama as a point of entry to probe the tensions between knowledge produced by objective scrutiny and knowledge created by subjective readings. I am interested in the demarcation lines between what is known and what is considered unknown --how epistemology (the theory of knowledge) arrives at a certain set of canons, which are often imposed by agencies of power, to represent and deal with the known and the unknown. This might be cultural in nature and may, or may not, be functional in a universal sense. With this set of concerns, I use chaos, disorder and rupture as a strategy while dealing with dioramas. Dioramas are often schematized as strict-ordered displays to facilitate particular kinds of viewership/readings. In my work, I instead focus on instinct, spontaneity and disorder, to give a sense of disaster.
These works are painterly and use landscape as a trope, in order to highlight and historicize issues of perception, objectification and the meanings they generate, which further opens up a debate about agency: who owns, who preaches, and who forces us to look towards the landscape in certain ways by altering its purpose and rising our psyche to the consciousness of objectification and meaning creation. Simulating us, as if it would reveal something which it never does, but instead oppresses other ways of being, I believe the world in which we live is a diorama, where we are being secluded from the real by the very set of ideas and knowledge we have of it.
Escaping the present framework of knowledge
I am interested in Deleuze and Guattari's concept of de-territorialization, which does not mean the loss of being, but rather, an acceleration of being, a speeding up, a moving away, a change of being across the threshold of what is known at the current time, in the present place, or within the present framework of knowledge.
My works are inclined towards conceptual exploration, but I don’t want it to be just cerebral. I am convinced that the physical attributes and expressions need to be assessed on the basis of visual and sensual.
Mediums and Technique
Using wooden boxes of variable sizes, which I learned how to make, enjoying the process, I paint most of them with oil colours, using tea stains to achieve an earthly effect. I paint by fragmenting the raw and the natural objects, materials and resources in the boxes, using the three dimensional space as a diorama. They are juxtaposed in such a way to suggest that they are being researched, but at the same time, this very world which is being boxed, holds the expression of melancholia, grief and loss.
The installation uses the whole room as a landscape, and by entering it the viewer becomes an integral part of the work.
Searching for a different realm
Somehow the Western episteme (system of knowledge) plays a part in our attempts to create a two dimensional space over the chaotic, multidimensional space within which we exist. It works catastrophically as first knowing, then colonising and then destroying. My work explores a realm that does not often come into the spectrum of subjects in the contemporary art world, but it is very much interdisciplinary.
My interest in dioramas is similar to that of the American artist Mark Dion, who explores the relation between museum display and social and political resources.
Notes: 1.The title of the piece, ‘Orbiting the Black Sun’, was inspired by Julia Kristeva’s book on melancholia and depression, ‘Black Sun’.
More Images of the Installation Here:
Ankur Yadav, Born in 1995 in Rajasthan(India), completed his Bachelors Degree from the Painting Department in Kala Bhavana, Shantiniketan in 2017 and received his Masters Degree from the Painting Department at the Faculty of Visual Arts, MSU, Baroda in 2019.