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Weekday Lounge Exclusive | The Art of Dying

Weekday Lounge Exclusive | The Art of Dying
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First Published: Tue, Mar 18 2008. 11 59 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Mar 18 2008. 11 59 PM IST
What do you do with something you don’t need any more? More often than not, you discard it. But what if it was something special? Can we give it the kind of farewell we reserve for a person? Happening is the photo documentation of the ritualistic burial given to a car by the artist Srinivasa Prasad during his residency in Japan, where the law demands that before junking a car it needs to be in basic running condition. In a sense, it needs to be alive before it dies.
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“The process of death seems more interesting than life and once you realize that, all aspects of life seem meaningless,” says Prasad. The exhibition, titled Payana, is a combination of installations, video and photo documentation that thread together the philosophy that an individual’s journey continues into the afterlife.
According to Hindu custom, the life lead by a person is celebrated with a feast on the 13th day of his passing. Prasad has integrated this thought into his work by projecting a video documentation of a hand, polishing off a Shradh feast against a backdrop of a traditional leaf plate. The experience is riveting—as if it is your hand scooping the contents from the plate, but of course there is no taste of food in your mouth.
In the installation called Payana, Prasad uses an old cart to indicate the onset of a journey, the cart is loaded with articles that have been used for years and the traveller wants to keep for the rest of the journey.
Another interesting installation is the symbolic clinging of the ashes. Prasad has used this in the entire gallery by covering the walls with ash smeared fingerprints.
The ritual of death often includes ‘cleansing’ and that theme is an integral part of Prasad’s thread. According to Hindu custom one shaves one’s head after the death of a relative. But how do you cleanse yourself of what is in your head? Prasad’s representation of the act of cleansing is in the form of a video projection. The multi- layer projection depicts the artist, with garbage in his head, being flushed down a urinal. All this projected on a wall made of newspaper, which as we know can be recycled.
Payana, an Exhibition by Srinivasa Prasad is on at Galleryske, Bangalore until 10 April
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First Published: Tue, Mar 18 2008. 11 59 PM IST