Blend ancient sculptural history of Indian origins and add human anatomical dimensions and parts to it and you get L N Tallur’s quaint and curious set of miniatures in Chemould gallery’s unveiling of miniature masterpieces in the exhibition In Touch. Tallur has the ability to keep his viewers always guessing and gazing at his works.These works were shown at a special exhibition at Bikaner House in March this year.It presents a recall in myriad ways.
We can also recall the great Leonardo da Vinci who had cleverly concealed his hidden anatomical illustrations—painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, from the eyes of Pope Julius II and countless religious worshipers, historians, and art lovers for centuries—inside the body of God.
Fast forward 2021 and you have to get inside Tallur’s mind to know his brilliance in the syncopation of ideas and imagination.His background in the study of museums and its history makes him a connoisseur .Over the past few years he has created his own niche in the Indian/global art world with his originality, by creating works that reference cultural symbols and mythology while obscuring, transforming, and subverting the traditional readings of these socio cultural symbols.In many ways he is like a visual diarist who straddles many epochs but echoes the beauty of the human form always as he plays with periods and translation of imagery.
This set of miniatures belongs to a series he names as floccinaucinihilipilification (prototype). It means the “The action or habit of estimating something as worthless.”
According to Tallur ,” humans have one basic motive, that is the tendency to fulfil one’s potential and achieve the highest level of worthiness one can.A person’s ideal self may not be consistent with what actually happens in life and experiences of the person. Hence, a difference may exist between a person’s ideal self and actual experience. This difference could be identified as floccinaucinihilipilification.”
He adds: “ Where a person’s ideal self and actual experience are consistent or very similar, a state of congruence exists. However, everyone experiences a certain amount of floccinaucinihilipilification.
Floccinaucinihilipilification is “a discrepancy between the actual experience of the organism and the self-picture of the individual insofar as it represents that experience.” This series of prototypes is an exercise in finding the quotient of this discrepancy of being worthless.
Look closely and find anatomical juxtapositions of the human body with a demonstration of the masterful craftsmanship of early bronzes in Indian sculptural history.
Tallur recalls early centuries in Indian art history which witnessed an embellishment of sculptural form. We witness a depiction of an entourage of different avatars their hybrid bodies echoing time. The artist has emphasised the prowess of the human form through strong frontal poses detailed carving, pleasing size and charismatic conditioning.
In the elaboration of detailing and the perfection of the powerful frontal stance emerging from ornate dance or mythic narratives , Tallur models the bodies with exceptional naturalism, as he creates a rendition of robust thighs emphasised by an attractive yet tapered wasp waist. Carved in deep detailing with a print of mosaic on the surface of the metal, the miniatures appear multi-dimensional and cohesively capacious. Of particular note is the degree of antiquity and modernity both fused so as to formulate an open ended commentary.
Juxtaposition is not new for Tallur. He had created a surreal syntax with Size up – a museum antiquity of a Chola bronze was morphed into a contemporary stamens with an array of logs of wood on top set in a triangular arrangement in 2015. Bronze, wood saw dust and iron become important elements in the confluence of novel mediums.
Tallur forms a complex sculptural referencing of Hindu iconography, popular culture, and the abject poverty of the Indian countryside, as well as broader political and societal issues, such as the nature of value and the globalized economy. Tallur’s education in art and museum studies, keeps him agog and ahead of the pack, his appropriation of classical Indian works of art or referencing museum displays and the institutional presentation of objects, makes you wonder at his ability to keep reinventing his ideology and his narrative dalliances with art history.
These sculptures talk to us, draw us into their maw, Tallur makes use of beautiful and unusual traits such as the large rib cage paired with a substantial and voluptuous form, making the anonymous anklet legged goddess a fine example of the rounded physique of period sculpture. The anatomical biological parts create an animated idiom, the sculptures stand in graceful sway instead of hieratic stillness. This juxtaposition and the digital print on some elements create a masterful depiction of feminine strength and innate fervour.
Tallur’s works are part of Chemould Gallery’s contribution in the show IN TOUCH, an online digital exhibitions platform created in partnership between 10 galleries to present curated exhibitions.
Images: Chemould Gallery Mumbai
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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