Jagannath Panda’s much anticipated show at the Nature Morte gallery, The Action of Nowhere, features sculptures and paintings that employ fabric, fibreglass and acrylic paint on canvas to explore points where the world of man, animal and vegetation intersect. They touch upon issues of ecology and the effect of human activity upon the environment, but they also seem go farther to look at things beyond the physical world—one that explores the impact of modernity on man and his world at what can perhaps be called a spiritual plane. Edited excerpts:
What would you say is the general theme of your show?
The Action of Nowhere is the title of one of the works and is based on the everyday encounters one has as a silent spectator—whatever is happening in the city, whether indoors or outdoors. I have been working on the show over the last three-four years and that is the gist of the work. It’s about ideas of development and ideas of nature.
The Action of Nowhere
Why the car crashes?
Cars are beautiful objects; even objects of luxury—they are made with good intention, but then something is lacking somewhere. For me they embody and reflect the dilemma of the traditional versus the modern; and the urban versus rural. There is also the idea and place of the machine; and of the desire for a medium path
What is the significance of the animals?
The rhino sculpture is made of fibreglass which is covered by fabric, which makes its body look like flesh. To me it recalls (the) Kaziranga (national park); and the problem of migration and human movement there—the local versus the outsider. To me my works are about bringing the barrier between species—human, animal, plant life—down. At one level, the works to me are about transforming the self into different life-forms to understand the self.
What dictates your choice of material used to create the artworks?
It’s a slow evolution, a process that makes you select the material you use. Sometime the material is itself important; sometime the material is used to support other material. You explore ideas using material.
The Lost Site
Man, animal and plant life—they come together in your works and are central to them.
To me it’s about cohabitation. There is development happening—we are told Delhi has some very old trees but then trees have been cut for the construction of the Metro. The question is how do we balance it? How a nice harmony can be created? I try and achieve a certain balance in the material I use; and the idea of balance is also a theme in the works themselves.
The Action of Nowhere is on at Nature Morte Gallery, Niti Bagh, New Delhi till 5 September