Vulnerability and strengthSheela Gowda (b. 1957) lives and works in Bangalore. She creates her works in laborious processes and uses local materials like cow dung or hair, as here in Behold.
The hair is offered by pilgrims in south Indian temples. It is much sought after by the wig industry and exported all over the world. The smaller bits of hair that are not suitable for wigs is sourced by the local industry and woven into ropes which are seen even today in Bangalore’s cityscape, on vehicles, cattle and objects as a talisman to ward off the evil eye.
Gowda has woven these individual ropes into a continuous length of four kilometers. The contrasting material of fine hair, from people of different age and gender, holding up the hard, shiny metal bumpers expresses both human vulnerability and strength.
At home and abroadThukral & Tagra (b. 1976 and 1979) has made the installation The Escape! Resume/Reset (2012) especially for the exhibition. You step into a kitschy, poppish universe with pastel-coloured carpets, graphically patterned wallpaper, a chandelier and paintings in loud advertising colours. On the floor stands a group of rebuilt airplane seats upholstered in Indian materials, which you can sit in. There are cabin luggage and iPads with entertainment for the flight in the back of the seat in front.
In a style all their own, Thukral & Tagra have created a domesticated airliner. They invite you on a mental journey where you can dream your way to exotic climes in the safety of the sofa. The work is a game, a kind of dream machine inspired by the longing to get away of young Indians, but for us it is a setting for meditating about how we live our lives between the local and the global.