In young and upcoming German conceptual artist Timo Seber’s new show Gone to Seed, there are few installations that aim to directly talk about his sojourn in India.
From a half-cut, black and white portrait shot in a frame to a well-arranged table; from a design of painted birds framed on the wall to a half-finished natural landscape sketch—many of his works and some works-in-progress may appear to have no bearing on India in the literal sense of dealing with Indian subjects (there are pieces of silk embroidery which will be put up in the show, but that’s about it). Add to these displays, a video and a picture of a young Seber being held by his mother and the abstract aspect of his current work is complete. But that sense of incomprehension, it seems, may just be his point.
Seber, 27, is from Cologne, Germany, and makes no bones about exploring the liberties of conceptual art. He is, at the moment, an artist-in-residence for the last few weeks at Bangalore Gallery 1, Shanthi Road. “I did not want to feed into the clichés of expectations that a Western person coming to India may have of the country. Spending just six weeks in this country, I’m in no position to comment on it or create work that directly reflects my time here,” he explains. “But what the feeling of being in India has done for me, is to sort of take stock of my past experience so far,” he adds. Therefore, his show, he says “is about the idea of India in European minds” and what prompts many Westerners to see this country.
But why is the show called Gone to Seed? “I wanted to test the usual associations one has of the phrase. For instance, the phrase “going to seed” can mean a sense of general decline but in my understanding, it can also imply the beginning of something new. With that mind, I openly interpret the meaning of the words that make the title of the show.” However, there have been some things to learn more about. For a conceptual artist, “who doesn’t really require any skill”, Seber says he has been immensely touched by the work done on silk embroidery in India. He talks effusively about the silk pieces he plans to showcase.
“In terms of craftsmanship, what I find interesting is how much of the work on silk is still handmade and not machine- or mass-produced. Work on silk is something I will look to learn more about in India. It’s a beautiful form that I find interesting and inspiring,” he says. For a new artist itching to make his name, it looks like a good idea has been seeded in his mind.
Gone To Seed will run at 1, Shanthi Road, from 11-12 December.