The process of regeneration is continuous, resultant from cycles of change, renewal and replacement; the absence of anything constant. Sites, spaces, situations, thoughts, people, objects - all are affected by their surroundings, thereby converging into the overarching and unavoidable regenerative process of growth. Mumbai-based artist Shreyas Karle consciously creates an awareness and experience of regeneration through his art. His works are visual interpretations of his reactions to regenerative conditioning - subtle interventions in studied spaces, describing the necessity of a new or alien place to engulf you. You must become a part of it before reacting to it, and therein become conditioned into it. He gives the example of a stain on a bright yellow wall that might initially seem disturbing, but on accepting its existence, one begins to see at the whole picture (the wall in its entirety) rather than the detail.
From the large water body to the smaller
The channel is secondary
It has to behave to its nature
A small crack or a negligible hole can play the role of a new source.
It seldom behaves the human law
The work here looks at this uncanny behaviour of water disobedience.
A garden fountain standing tall, is paralyzed by a small crack in it.
The water forces itself out through the crack
The fountain fails to perform its duty."
- Shreyas Karle
Karle's art presents us with an alternation between detail and the entire picture, giving us the option of what to notice. The way one decides to look at or neglect a space or object is a reflection of the latter's behaviour on an individual aspect. What might seem important to one might not necessarily be a vital factor for the other; such as ‘The Wall at Project 88' that ran diagonally across the gallery, but refused to serve the purpose of divisions, privacy or fortification, which it would otherwise do.
"... It tapers down from one end to other also failing to hide what lies beyond it.
It does nothing but exist.
Exist in the given time and space.
It is a wall without purpose."
- Shreyas Karle
The sustenance of acceptance and adaptation is an after-effect of tested time that changes the way one accustoms oneself to the subject of regeneration. The modification of comfort and familiarity is displaced with regeneration. However, this process of flux is something that gradually seeps into human conditioning and eventually modifies into familiar territory with the passage of time. To accustom oneself to the state of constant flux, it is imperative for one to allow this permutation to react in a progressive manner to forms of renewal.
As an artist, Karle surveys situations and spaces externally, before plunging into revelations of details and politics. Of the opinion that regeneration gives birth to site-specificity (and not vice versa), there is a need for Karle to know the requirements of the space. Reflecting the need for regeneration, the artist speaks about the (often) unwanted presence of works and ideas that an artist might impose into a space. To realise the necessity of this, one must communicate with oneself to create a dialogue that helps realise the boundaries of a place, of possibilities, capabilities and hidden beliefs and substances. ‘Bolta Pahad', a work created by Karle at the Sandarbh residency in Rajasthan, addresses the site-specificity of a residency while also addressing its surroundings (in this case the dormant mountain), and regenerating their presence through his artistic interventions.
Reacting to regeneration, Karle comments on the system rather than using it as a tool to create something disconnected with the existing space. At a residency in Zurich, the artist created a series of works that decoded his observations and experiences at the residency. This included a work with a projector that did not work titled ‘This projector does not work'; a series of two-paged publications that describe his mundane observations of Switzerland (including a poem by a tram-door button); and ‘The artist guide book', an account of Karle's travels around the country along with hand-drawn maps and information that would be useful for future artists.
The form of regeneration results from the challenge of residencies in new places, and the existence of the self in a space. Through early observations of spaces, issues and challenges, Karle paves the way for future similar situations. Similarly, this can be negotiated with the system of perception - metaphysical with physical - with negotiated materials of ideas, spaces, dialogues, thoughts, walls, and systems; all regenerating into acceptance and submissive conditioning.
Veeranganakumari Solanki is an independent art curator and writer based in Mumbai.
Shreyas Karle is a Mumbai-based artist and the director of Sandarbh, a site-specific artist initiative in India.
Every sunbeam, every strain of music, every sapling and starfish is ultimately the regeneration of a previous something, a collection of somethings, taking on new shape. At the most indivisible level we can comprehend, all life is nothing more than atoms and molecules dancing their way through various forms. And if everything comes from something, it stands to reason that everything must go to something as well.Read More
By Veeranganakumari Solanki, Issue 27, Regeneration: Revolving Growth