Silent Expressions

Three artists come together to display their works that make a statement — loud and clear — without making a sound

By Mary Paulose

Published: Fri 22 Mar 2013, 10:28 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:30 AM

SOUND AND LIGHT: Mazumdar’s metal and light installations using incandescent bulbs

Three artists are choosing to display their work, without making a noise about it, at the ongoing Soundless exhi-bition at the 1x1 Gallery, Empty 10, Al Quoz. Drawing, embroidery, sound and light installations, and even scratches, come together to convey a common message, interacting silently, yet making a statement — loud and clear.

In the cozy gallery space, Emirati artist Mohammed Kazem, Italian-Lebanese Cristiana de Marchi and Indian Chittrovanu Mazumdar bring together their specialisations — in art and installations — inviting viewers to make their own interpretations of it as well.

“Sound is present in many of my works: directly in my videos, as natural organic sound, and indirectly in several series of my paper works, as a trace, as a suggestion rather than an actual presence. Every material has 
its proper nature and the contact, the combination of different materials 
inevitably creates a sound,” says 
Mohammed. “With the scratch art (paper art displaying fine portions scratched off to form an intricate 
design), each piece obviously made sounds during the creation process, but how do I present that to the viewer? Through the infinity movement displayed on each piece.”

Mazumdar is an artist with a truly international sensibility, a defining part of the contemporary art scene for three decades now. His works display light and sound as visual and aural hallmarks. His metal and light works are quite the set piece. “You need to understand sound, in order 
to understand silence. The marriage of sound and silence, light and darkness, is displayed here,” says Chittrovanu. His interpretation of bioscope cinema — a series of videos showing short fictionalised stories — can be viewed through the peepholes of his handmade one foot studded-square metal and carved decolite ‘video boxes’. “Before television and today’s cinema, bioscopes offered us an 
assortment of images which our minds interpreted and put together to form 
a story: this is taken from that motif. It’s about giving a peek into people’s lives, not the full picture.” Chittrovanu’s use of incandescent bulbs (which are fast being phased out) in his light installations, similarly celebrates memories of people and lives who are long gone.

Cristiana’s works are the softest, but perhaps the strongest. Embroidery is her medium of choice. “My work here is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I have translated the 30 articles of the declaration in Braille and embroidered them on 30 canvasses. Visually, it’s a very minimal work, allowing visitors to feel them and have a very tactile experience,” said Cristiana.

“Through the art, I’m conveying the message that though we can touch and feel the human rights embroidered on the canvas, we are still non-sighted about their meaning; we are those who can’t see and understand them in actuality, which is why so many human rights violations happen.” Her second series, titled Al Watan, are extracts from great speeches given by Arab leaders. “I have embroidered those words, entirely in white, on white canvas. So without the right lighting, the words seem to disappear. It’s passes a very subliminal message, in contrast to the powerful words.”

“As you can see, the theme of the exhibition is the relation between all these works, which are silent; yet, there is a kind of conversation bet-ween all of them,” says Cristiana.

Soundless is on till April 4, at 1x1 gallery. Timings by appointment only.

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