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Artist Profile1
Interview with Bose Krishnamachari
“Everything, albeit impermanent, is connected to memory. The public memory may be short, especially in today’s fast-paced world. Yet, human memory as against computer memory is precious. Everything is ultimately an invention of one’s memory, and how much of it one recollects, retains and reprocesses,” quips quirky contemporary artist, Bose Krishnamachari.

Memories that sift through the sieve of time and perspective become versions of potent reality in his creations. His ‘De-curating’ (2003) show was a tribute to the memory of that `whole-time worker', the artist In ‘Exist’ (2005), the artist chose to revisit and recreate 15 years of his oeuvre, working around the idea of memory and remembrance.

Bose Krishnamachari's intriguing installation ‘GHOST/TRANSMEMOIR' where again memory is central to the creation is on view at the Peabody Essex Museum in the US till the end of September 2007. The 40-feet long work includes 108 metal cans used by the city's famous delivery men of Tiffin boxes. They deliver home-cooked meals to tens of thousands of office workers every day in Mumbai.

In this compelling creation the lunch boxes are mounted on iron scaffolding and contain LCD monitors. The tangle of wires, hand straps, headphones and metal containers is a play on the indomitable spirit and energy of the people of Mumbai, a city constantly on the move.

Elaborating on his mixed media installation, the artist says, “The LCD monitors kept inside the boxes that project interviews with a range of Mumbai residents —from street vendors to socialites, industrialists and intellectuals, give a kaleidoscopic view of the city and various facets of its life : displacement, joy, dejection, etc. It gives the viewer a different perspective of the city.” The idea is to capture the city’s chaos and disorder, and a constant battle that involves varied experiences like balancing on the scaffoldings of high-rise buildings and travelling on the omnipresent local trains.

The installation gives viewers a feel of the city life that unfolds as varied experiences, memories of which keep haunting us time and again like ghosts of the past; hence the name of the creation ‘GHOST/TRANSMEMOIR’! The artist terms the travelling show as an instance of ‘cultural transportation’.

As a creator, curator and practitioner of art in various forms and domains, Bose Krishnamachari likes to challenge and defy conventional concepts of visual art practices to set his own norms. In a persistent exploration of a number of themes the idea of archiving or museumisation the interconnection between design and art he worked on 'de-curating' as homage to the peers and seniors whose output he considers crucial to the current status of contemporary Indian art and to his personal art practice.

For the realistic portraiture of 94 living contemporary Indian artists, he picked out images of each one photocopied them and drew a grid upon this copy. A similar grid, drawn on a larger sheet of paper, assisted him in getting the proportions while penciling in the features of the subject and delineating details of the subject’s appearance.

Bose Krishnamachari believes the actual artistic practice is more critical than theory concepts and ideas. According to him, it is range that defines artistic success, not quality that is totally relative. The multi-faceted creator has worked in a diverse range of media like painting (abstract as well as figurative) photography, cultural assemblages and installation. It’s important to try out new things, he emphasizes.

In one such installation experiment, ‘LaVA’ ((Laboratory of Visual Arts) in 2006 he provided a reference point for various visual art practices with a focus on the five decades in design, photography, art and architecture. LaVA, a statement on the inadequacies of existing institutions,is for him an artistic intervention.

Even though he has put up a show, ‘Double Enders’ (2005) of artists from his home state of Kerala, he believes that art cannot be bound by regions; it’s universal, he asserts. “An artist should be aware of global trends and should be sensitive to undercurrents in society, which will make his or her art stand the test of time. The new generation of artists has imbibed the global influence in their work, which is heartening. When I curate shows, I look for artists who strive for a unique artistic expression. A show like KAAM (2005) is an exploration of that expression. I am interested in true talent and not in where it comes from.”

Elaborating on his philosophy as an artist, he once stated: “Consistency in art works is a premeditated, prescriptive approach and I do not believe in it. Liberation from consistency or styles is the direction of my art.” The process of discovery (coupled with the intention) remains more crucial and critical to him than the end output.