Chennai's newest lifestyle shopping destination, Palladium, launches with art installations and aerial acts
The opening of the new Palladium mall in the city will feature a host of specially commissioned site-specific installations and works by prominent artists. A lot of the attention is likely to be accorded to the interactive installation, Shadow 3, by Shilpa Gupta, the award-winning artist from Mumbai, known for her projects with found objects. Shilpa presented the same work earlier this month at the India Art Fair in New Delhi, supported by the Foundation for Indian Contem-porary Art (FICA).
The interactive video projection, first made a decade ago in response to matters of climate change, shares Shilpa’s vision — to create a dynamic space between art and a wider audience. Previously shown in a tent on on Carter Road, Mumbai, Shadow 3 reflects the artist’s interests in the blurring of relations between different entities. In the work, the viewers become active participants, toying with seemingly broken props and an assortment of unrecognisable objects. Placed strategically in the mall, the installation directly engages people, capturing their shadows and projecting them back into the work as they pass by. The effect is entrancing, with music playing in the background, and shadows projected on a screen. The moving narrative that’s created, as a result, speaks of an environment under siege, and the constant threat of catastrophic disasters and permanent imbalance in the natural world.
Eye on Chennai
Alongside, Patrick Rimoux, the noted light sculptor from Paris, will present Chenn-eye (2017), installed as a projection on the mall’s circular ceiling. Patrick has a long list of projects to his name, of public monuments from the Centre Pompidou and Gare du Nord in Paris to The HL Foundation in New Delhi. With Chenn-eye, he creates the impression of a kaleidoscope, switching frames between visuals of the pupil of an eye to open skies and cityscapes. The work involves unique lighting variations, and took two years to complete, as a tribute to the city of Chennai.
The new Palladium mall, which was designed by Pronit Nath of Urban Studio, based on a plan by the architects Benoy, will also witness a few other notable works. Celestial Carillion by Transe Express takes the shape of a collection of harmonised bells, hung like a chandelier from the ceiling. The bells are played as a part of an aerial performance, and can be heard throughout the mall.
The artist Anindita Dutta will present Limitation, a five-minute act as a part of a series of performances in which she lies in a bed of wet clay, moving her arms to create patterns, while her head remains trapped under a box. She will also present a video of her work, Everything Ends and Everything Matters (2014), of a life-size structure plastered with clay.
The idea of a confluence of art and consumerism will be highlighted by Annapurna Garimella, in a series of installations. The work reflects on the historic French influence in Chennai, drawing on products from fashion and cookware to perfumery, and examining cross-cultural influences in everyday objects. To wrap things up, artist and perfumer Jahnvi Lakhota Nandan will present two new fragrances, named Water Memory and The Floating Sphere. Vijay Choraria, MD, Crest Ventures, a partner of Palladium, says in a note about the event, “By exhibiting large artworks from a wide variety of media, our objective is to push the definition of what art can be. It’s fun and gratifying to see people across all age groups reacting and responding to the art. I think the art has created a soul for the mall.”
For whom the bells toll
Exhilarating. Captivating. Awe-inspiring. These are a few words that can be used to describe the performances by French company Transe Express. Founded in 1982 by street artistes, Brigitte Burdin and Gilles Rhode, it has over 110 performers and around 25 technicians who help conceptualise audacious shows that are conducted in open spaces around the world (over 50 countries so far), mostly in the streets where the public can engage with the artistes.
With musical walk-acts and parades led by drummers, bell ringers and opera singers dressed as giant dolls, mega carousels and large-scale aerial shows, Transe Express employs elements of music, visual arts, circus skills, fire, opera, rock, dance and theatre in its projects. They have now brought their exceptionally trained performers to India for the first time. Presenting one of their seven aerial shows, Maudits Sonnants, they first performed in Hyderabad, and will be in Chennai tomorrow, before heading out to Delhi.
First performed in 1996 in France, Maudits Sonnants is primarily conducted in the night, and features around 20 artistes who play the role of church bell-ringers. The setting features a majestic shape-shifting carillon (they call it the ‘Celestial Carillon’), which is supported by a crane and lifted into the air during the course of the performance, along with select bell-ringers. Nicole Ragaigne, the current production manager of the show, tells us that the majority of the present crew have performed since the beginning, while the rest acquired training for over an year.
She elaborates, “The core concept is about time and each of the bell-ringers represent one moment in time. As the Celestial Carillon lifts them up in the air, each of them will ring their respective bells in unison, delivering a baroque musical act,” adding that the Carillon’s movement represents the progress of time and its metaphorical stoppages. With the design inspired by the works of American sculptor Alexander Calder, Maudits Sonnants is truly a stargazer’s delight!