Ambience of a momentary vision

Ambience of a momentary vision

BY ANANT ART · MARCH 1, 2017

Interview with Umesh PK

By Premjish Achari

Premjish Achari: Could you talk about your process? Maybe from the beginning, about how you conceive a work and the various stages involved in its execution.

Umesh P.K.: I spend most of my time in solitude, being in constant dialogue with my inner self. I have developed an intense interest towards visuals since my childhood and I used to withdraw myself from the noises of the outer world, and get involved in making drawings and paintings by sitting in a quiet place. Once we finish a painting or a drawing, we can come out and reconnect with the world in a totally different way. In that sense, in the very beginning itself, I got the opportunity to realise the power and potency of art to communicate very silently and peacefully to the world.

Umesh P.K.

Umesh P.K | Ship of Insane, 2014

I conceive each of my paintings as a visual device which can turn the spectator to look inwards in order to experience the dimensions of our inner realm. No efforts are involved in the making of these imageries. In the momentary lapse of reason, they reveal themselves to me like a sudden vision on the distant horizon of the mindscape and instantly make me free from the grasp of the pattern of mundane thoughts. Throughout the process of execution, I try to retain the ambience of that momentary vision.

Most of the times my paintings are a result of many improvisations; in such improvisations, I focus on the fundamentals of the visual. For instance, how to bring three-dimensionality to a sphere or the hotness to a flame of fire or wetness to a water body. This approach helps me to understand the dimension of reality in which the objects are turning to events. It is a way of knowing the flow of energy in all entities in the universe.

Umesh P.K.

Umesh P.K | Untitled (Archer), 2014

Premjish: There is an increased emphasis on the idea of history, memory and identity in your works. These works, in an imaginary way, try to recreate the role of history in the making of identities. Your paintings, drawings, sculptures, etc. supplant this aspect. Could you explain more about this?

Umesh: In my previous works, more specifically in my last solo show, entitled 'the excavated memories', my attempt was to create a visual account of an imaginary history by transforming the gallery space into a temporary museum-like space, and by doing so reminding the fundamental ethnographic questions such as who is representing whom?, for whose sake?, in which way and so on... the idea was to give a hint about how the hegemony is operating through different power centres in the course of constructing representations.

Umesh P.K.

Umesh P.K | Pages from a field guide, 2014

The development of various methodologies in ethnographic studies in order to produce more scientific and reliable accounts eventually brought us to a point where the notion of an objective reality, irrespective of the observer is being irreversibly aborted. We can see the shift of emphasis from reason to ethics in all intellectual discourses. It is at this historical juncture, I believe art and literature once again became more important as a mode of enquiry as well as an alternative way to produce parallel histories.

For me, the history is an example of disciplinary systems or institutions through which the representations are being constructed. As we live in an era of blurred genres I would like to extend my interest into other disciplines as well in my future endeavours... But my primary concern remains intact; it is to highlight the potency of art to rise above the structural limitations of language on which the foundations of all other intellectual disciplines are firmed. Language allows us one-at-a-time translation of the universe in terms of an abstract system. It is essential to function in an intelligent way in this world, but inadequate to capture the concrete reality of the universe in which things are happening altogether-at-once. Understanding in terms of linear thought, of words and concepts, is like trying to make out the features of a large room with no other light than a single bright ray. It is as complicated as trying to drink water with a fork instead of a cup.

Umesh P.K.

Umesh P.K | Relics from the past, 2015

Premjish: In the work "Let there be fire" one can experience a mythical past, some sort of origin myth. One can also see a grand vision of creation, an imagination which transcends time and space. Have Epics or religious texts played an influence on this particular aspect?

Umesh: Myths are entwined to the deepest structure of our being; they form the blue print of the psyche. In fact, we can find numerous examples of myths in epics and other religious texts, but I never draw imageries directly from any of them.

For the last few years, I have been reading and listening to the men of various mystic traditions from different parts of the globe. Instead of filling the mind their teachings are capable of emptying us. Here the mind refers to the part of the psyche which is continuously chattering, Buddhists call it as the monkey mind. Our experience of the linearity of time is a product of this self-perpetuating interior monologue, whereas in reality there is no such thing as an absolute time or an absolute space but a space-time continuum. If we are lucky enough, somewhere on the line of practice this monologue will cease momentarily and we will get a glance of the deeper layer of our psyche; the layer of collective unconsciousness. In such beautiful moments, we can go beyond the boundaries of our individual mind and directly access the source of archetypal imageries.

Umesh P.K.

Umesh P.K | Let there be fire, 2017

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