The Fuschia Tree
Editor's Note.
I was about 9 years old—a 3x3 cube—and my school had a class, an hour a week, called 'Value Education'. Our teacher gave us an A4 sheet of paper, split into 12 boxes. Each box had a patternless constellation of dots. Our task was simply to create a square, a rectangle or a triangle within each box, without leaving a single dot astray.

While I connected the dots into stars and baby elephants with stubbed noses and large antennae, my peers were coerced—I say coerced because it was a time when lines did not come naturally to us, when we didn't feel obliged to color inside trees and they didn't need to be green—into following the structure.
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By Manjari Kaul
Enter a white cube: Sterile. Sombre. Spotless, shadow-less. Sedentary, Sparse. Object after object neatly perched on a pedestal or framed and suspended from nails on pristine white walls.  The square space interpellates you into the materialist system of the evaluation of art objects against a monetary value. The endless reproduction of artwork through various media allows Art to be commoditised; it's value in the art market far exceeding its value as a unique/singular experience.

Railing against commodity-fetishism in the art market is a former student of Economics, now conceptual artist, Tino Sehgal. Unlike those who eschew gallery and museum spaces to stage their dissent, he situates himself within the white cube and makes it wear itself inside out. He de-objectifies the gallery space and builds into the character of his work all that is prohibited in a museum space. Thus, the artist critiques the structure of the white cube from within, acquires a place inside the system to critique its materialism and code.

Also in this issue

  • Finally Found My Room Full of Toys.
    The paper planes, stark in their textbook paper whiteness, were messengers of the past as well as soldiers of resilience. The act, to begin with, is childlike. The artist folding paper, revelling in the feel of parchment, of sudden,
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  • Of Drawings, Spaces and Machines.
    The artist plays with this natural instinct. He lures, controls, guides. He dodges, seduces, tricks and transforms ‘realization’. He allows negatives areas to become part of his subjects. He imagines beyond
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  • Shadows in White.
    The ‘clean sterile’ kitchen became the symbol of the new-modern woman. The clean white tiles, the white fridge, the white Formica tabletops, everything that was white and sanitized became the symbol of
    Read More

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.