The Fuschia Tree
Editor's Note.
Conversations with the eccentric and the absurd about their dreams, desires and destinies...

"What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning." And with T.S.Eliot in our heads we wander into a wasteland where the lost and the forgotten are reinvented, so that nostalgia gives way to love, in the future perfect.
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By the duo of style, satire and sanguine spirits, Thukral & Tagra.
Here is a unique insight into the dynamic duo, Thukral & Tagra, amongst the youngest and most radical contemporary artists in India. Traveling souls as they are, we emailed and text messaged with them. Perhaps it was the cusp of some great sign or perhaps they had seen a Punjabi man on a UFO, but their mischief with ideas and colorful way of life emanated through the electro-waves.

TFT: How did the two of you meet? What were you wearing?
T&T: We met at the Chandigarh College of Arts, 1997. It was during an interaction where Jiten pretended to be a fresher and Sumir was applying for a course. Jiten was wearing a fictitious laugh, and Sumir was in an intimidating bob!

TFT: What were the first days as a collective like? How often did you meet, what did you talk about? Did you have a studio? What was the very first work you created together?
T&T: The first project was 'visual dialogue', where one starts a work and passes it on the second player.
So literally one sends the files to the second team mate, and makes a chain onwards to the third and fourth. There were two more friends involved in it. But the first work was BOSEDK, which was then made to be 25 hand crafted T-shirts as a performance piece. We didn't have a studio, it was just a house where Jiten lived. That’s where we used to work, never thought it would be someday called “a studio".

TFT: Your most recent works have taken on function. Porcelain in which treasure may be stored, perfumes with which love might be made, buildings and phones that can be lived in and connected with. Was this ever a concern? That art was not enough? What is the difference in creating work that is meant solely for an aesthetic as opposed to work that is meant to do something for society, or useful to those who want to live with art?
T&T: Surprisingly, we saw porcelain as low-tech futuristic. The forms melted down, they became aero-dynamic in themselves. There is such a charm when the process of making something is complicated, hands on and well knitted. We like that a lot. We were living in the manufactory for 8 months, with our assistants (who were traveling for the first time). We did try to illustrate their dreams and make objects out of them.

TFT: Your fashion styles, your houses, your paperweights are all pieces of art. What are the lines between art and life? Are your rotis neon? Do your night clothes have flying sardars on them?
T&T: You are what you eat, think and see! Of course a paperweight matters, bread, bed, and band matters. Its a constant search for perfection, its like a course for life, to get the best. The idea shouldn't be greed, it’s the right choice and you don't have to kill yourself! But be careful and intelligent enough to move!

TFT: A lot of your work explorers utopias of travel and escaping to dreamworlds.
What has been the most exhilarating place you have traveled to yet?
And what is your most memorable dream?
T&T: Japan. Dreams are too complicated and illogical to explain.

TFT: Airplane or train?
T&T: A Rollercoster. Because it comes closest to a flying train!

TFT: Yellow or Orange?
T&T: Pink!

TFT: Squares or Circles?
T&T: Form: correct it! Mix them up. Get something new every time!

TFT: Garden or Terrace?
T&T: Stay on the grass and make things in the sky!

 Delhi or Gurgaon?
T&T: Toll tax!

 Hershey’s or Nutella?
T&T: Hershey’s.

 Magazines or Television?
T&T: iPad.

 Middle class or Upper class?
T&T: First class.

 What would you tell a young architect looking for advice?
T&T: Close your eyes and don't spoil your aesthetics! But seriously, create what you want to, not what others want you to.

 What would you tell anyone looking for love today?
T&T: Love yourself!

Thukral and Tagra were born in 1976 and 1979 respectively. They live and work in New Delhi.

Also in this issue

Illusion: Seeing Beyond Seeing
Meaning: In Search of Significance.
Melody: A Different Tune
Rhythm: Ordering Time

Dhrupadi Ghosh is an old friend of mine. We have often had long sessions of adda late at night, discussing her dream projects since her college days at Santiniketan, where she majored in Sculpture.