Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Young Indian Sculptor at LAPIDIALES!

When you come to visit the site of LAPIDIALES near the small city of PORT D'ENVAUX, from far, you can see what looks like one small and peaceful forest. But, after one curve, suddenly you realize that the trees hide you a strange landscape .... Long times ago was established here a stone-quarry.
The Stone of CRAZANNES - the material that has been used to build the Château de VERSAILLES, the base of the Statue de la Liberté in NEW YORK, and so many other monuments, this stone that has been transported, long times ago, by boat on the Charente River (maybe with some barrels of Cognac ? The city of Cognac is not so far !), this stone that, strangely, is not porous and even becomes and whiter all along time, this stone, now, has a new life : the royalty is no more in France (but there is still Cognac !), the quarrymen are gone and have let place to artists : the old quarry is now transformed as a sculpture garden, an open-air museum

Since 2000, a French artist, Alain TENENBAUM has opened "LES LAPIDIALES" (in Latin, "lapidis" means "stone") to artists. This place is opened all year long but it is better to come between May and September: the residence program begins and during 5 months and you can meet artists from France and all over the world (Turkey, Russia, Zimbabwe, India) who come and work during some periods of two months. They work "in situ" according to one of the five themes of the site: water, the surface of the earth, the depths of the earth, the air, the fire.They work all day long, like quarrymen did before, but they have another aim: the transformation of stone into contemporary works of art.

It was in 2006 that Gadadhar OJHA, the only young Indian sculptor living in France, has heard the first time about the LAPIDIALES as he had participated to the 1st International Symposium of PEZENAS (in the South of France). 13 artists working on the unique theme "Message of the Body", but amongst these artists at least 4 of them knew already the LAPIDIALES. And it was enough for Gadadhar OJHA to have the will, the desire to go and see how it was: working in an old quarry, what a strange and wonderful project!
In September 2006, like every year, during 3 days, this was the "closing session" of the Lapidiales, so we came and met everybody: organizer, artists, and ... the site! And this is how it comes ... Your work is your visiting card, you are invited by one artist who had worked before (one artist can give two names of new artists), then you learn some weeks later that you will work at the LAPIDIALES! Says Gadadhar.

Gadadhar OJHA has worked in 2007, during May and June, on the part called "in the depths of the Earth" ... Two months in the part of the quarry where there is less light, where there is more humidity, where it is more cold, where people who come could not see you, because there are so many caves, so many ups and downs, that visitors forget to go to see where artists work what could be the dark side of the existence.
But in the depths of the earth, you don't know how life could be also interesting: first, when you enter on right side, you are invited by some gnomes surrounded with strange friends with strange smiles who invite you to one library where you find old books, and crane, and candles, and another crane, and an old pair of shoes (maybe from the artist of the ones of the skeleton, lying there, waiting ... ?). More far still in the right side of you, you can already saw also one big mouth with one woman emerging, from the throat, one big chain, you could be scared, but it is impossible because in the middle you see something else that show you the poetic part of existence.
Upon on huge black wall, suddenly you see one beautiful and peaceful human being, man? Women ? who knows ?, emerging from one lotus flower, showing to our eyes his/her half-nude body, the other part made by flesh, guts, intestine, heart, lung, brain ... And in the center, one flower.
But there, it is impossible to be afraid, because, you know that from flower comes life, that this wonderful human being born in a flower gives birth, at his/her turn to another existence that from the depths of earth came to existence.
Suddenly, in the dark, you could see light, because slowly your eyes get used to this place, you can see also the structure: this personage is filled by horizontal lines. Those lines that follow you since you open yourself to life: the horizontal line that guides you to the sun when you wake up in the morning SUNRISE, the horizontal line when you begin to write, the horizontal lines when you begin to learn. Lines that give also movement: is not a drawing a complex of lines jointed together? There, the lines give movement to this body, and even in the dark, light is caught by these lines. Come and see this strange vision with candles around him/her ... Shadows will make the body dance, will make the flower rustle ... and maybe, you will be able to see life in the depth of the earth? Those lines begin from the stone to go back through the stone. But where are they going? Gadadhar OJHA has all the answer at his work. And when I asked him Don't you ever get tired? He said, “I never do anything that is not in my nature. You don't ask the wind whether it gets tired of blowing or the sun whether it is tired of shining. This is because they don't do anything that is not in their nature. And the thing here is that there is not pretension. There is no covering up of a mistake. There is no point in trying to appear as someone you are not. These are the principles that make my Art very strong.”
And when we lead through such examples, through our own lives, it becomes really effective in other's lives also. People are moved by people, not just by principles. It's a ripple effect. Gadadhar OJHA lives and works in Paris.
Contemporary Sculpture Review: Ashok Art Gallery

1 comment:

Pranati said...

Wah! How intresting this project is!!