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The object of our discussion is an untitled artwork by Laxman Kotturu. Untitled, because he believes labelling his work might limit the perceivers’ ideas and interpretations.

And that is how he deals with everyday objects in his art, by isolating the obvious from its common context. For convenience’s sake one may annotate his current work of discussion as Untitled.

Laxman derives motifs and connotations from animals. In this case, the elephant is the object of his representation. The artwork is a fabrication of two elephants placed atop one another. A full-grown elephant fabricated in stainless-steel mesh poked with nails is strapped above a baby elephant. The baby elephant is conceived and produced identical to the real animal with holes drilled across its body.

The art represents his elder brother’s suicide that Laxman is trying to cope with. The unfortunate incident transpired two years ago.

The art is paradoxical in nature as a seemingly strong but infant elephant supports an ephemeral and weightless elephant even while crumpling.

To achieve a realistic baby elephant in form, Laxman first created a clay model. A plaster-of-Paris mould was produced to cast the final sculpture in fibreglass. The sculpture was then finished in grey duco paint.

The larger elephant was sketched on paper first. A stainless-steel mesh was fabricated around galvanised iron pipes and finished with an anti-rust spray. He articulates the idea of pain through his work.

To the third person, the sheer mesh elephant could also portray an ‘afterimage’ weighing on those grieving loss, especially the young child. An afterimage is a visual illusion. It is a series of shapes and lines that continue to linger after one has stopped viewing the picture or object. The same could be attributed to the mesh. The body is no more, but the afterimage lingers, only this time, the pain is more perceptible, depicted by the nails.

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Workspace 04 Aug 2017

What meets the eye – engaging with the Untitled work of Laxman Kotturu

The eyes do not see a direct representation of external reality. It is a physiological fact that eyes perceive what the mind translates. Our notions, ideas and convictions are constructs that are reinforced when these images occur over a period of time and repeat themselves within a certain context. Probably the eyes see what the brain feeds it, and the ideas that come along with it are a response of the mind to the mind. The whole deal is perhaps fuzzed. But that is what came to mind when we spoke to Laxman Kotturu about his latest work.

The object of our discussion is an untitled artwork by Laxman Kotturu. Untitled, because he believes labelling his work might limit the perceivers’ ideas and interpretations. And that is how he deals with everyday objects in his art, by isolating the obvious from its common context.  For convenience’s sake one may annotate his current work of discussion as Untitled.

The object of our discussion is an untitled artwork by Laxman Kotturu. Untitled, because he believes labelling his work might limit the perceivers’ ideas and interpretations.

Motifs and Connotations

Laxman derives motifs and connotations from animals. In this case, the elephant is the object of his representation. The artwork is a fabrication of two elephants placed atop one another. A full-grown elephant fabricated in stainless-steel mesh poked with nails is strapped above a baby elephant.

The baby elephant is conceived and produced identical to the real animal with holes drilled across its body.The baby elephant appears to buckle under the full-grown elephant’s weight. The art is paradoxical in nature as a seemingly strong but infant elephant supports an ephemeral and weightless elephant even while crumpling. 

The art represents his elder brother’s suicide that Laxman is trying to cope with. The unfortunate incident transpired two years ago. Though the elephant characterizes a tough exterior, Laxman believes otherwise. He says, “Elephants are mighty but also compassionate and sensitive. They react to small things and gestures like smell, sound, water, etc. Similarly they value relationships.” The artwork denotes pain: the nails inserted onto the fully-grown elephant’s body indicate suffering experienced by his elder brother beneath his sound exterior.

“In the exhibition, I am trying to come to terms with my feelings. Mundane objects hold a place of significance in my work. I disassociate them from their original contexts, placing them instead in altered spaces. This allows me to re-look at my own circumstances from an objective distance. I attempt to broaden the scope of their meanings. The process becomes meditative and regenerative.”

The baby elephant represents the people who did not anticipate the drastic move, like Laxman himself, the elder brother’s son, wife and their mother who are fraught with the consequences of suicide. While the lower elephant is a baby, the holes drilled across his body are a reflection of the pain caused by the older elephant’s actions. It mirrors the impact created by the nails on the older elephant. Though the nails don’t pierce the baby elephant directly, he is not spared from its impression.

And that is how he deals with everyday objects in his art, by isolating the obvious from its common context. For convenience’s sake one may annotate his current work of discussion as Untitled.

 

The Making of the Elephants

To achieve a realistic baby elephant in form, Laxman first created a clay model. A plaster-of-Paris mould was produced to cast the final sculpture in fibreglass. The sculpture was then finished in grey duco paint. The holes were drilled last. The larger elephant was sketched on paper first. A stainless-steel mesh was fabricated around galvanised iron pipes and finished with an anti-rust spray.

He articulates the idea of pain through his work. “My work communicates inner feelings of humans. The transparency of mesh allows me to show the inner area of the sculpture. Nails within the mesh portray the experience of pain. Simultaneously, impression of these nails are visible on the body of the younger baby elephant, to show the manifold and far reaching impact that certain situations can have, not just on an individual but on those close to him as well.”

Laxman derives motifs and connotations from animals. In this case, the elephant is the object of his representation. The artwork is a fabrication of two elephants placed atop one another. A full-grown elephant fabricated in stainless-steel mesh poked with nails is strapped above a baby elephant. The baby elephant is conceived and produced identical to the real animal with holes drilled across its body.

The art represents his elder brother’s suicide that Laxman is trying to cope with. The unfortunate incident transpired two years ago.

An Afterimage of Grief and Loss

To the third person, the sheer mesh elephant could also portray an ‘afterimage’ weighing on those grieving loss, especially the young child. An afterimage is a visual illusion. It is a series of shapes and lines that continue to linger after one has stopped viewing the picture or object. The same could be attributed to the mesh. The body is no more, but the afterimage lingers, only this time, the pain is more perceptible, depicted by the nails.

The art is paradoxical in nature as a seemingly strong but infant elephant supports an ephemeral and weightless elephant even while crumpling.

To achieve a realistic baby elephant in form, Laxman first created a clay model. A plaster-of-Paris mould was produced to cast the final sculpture in fibreglass. The sculpture was then finished in grey duco paint.

Laxman explains his interpretation, “In the exhibition, I am trying to come to terms with my feelings. Mundane objects hold a place of significance in my work. I disassociate them from their original contexts, placing them instead in altered spaces. This allows me to re-look at my own circumstances from an objective distance. I attempt to broaden the scope of their meanings. The process becomes meditative and regenerative.”

The larger elephant was sketched on paper first. A stainless-steel mesh was fabricated around galvanised iron pipes and finished with an anti-rust spray. He articulates the idea of pain through his work.

To the third person, the sheer mesh elephant could also portray an ‘afterimage’ weighing on those grieving loss, especially the young child. An afterimage is a visual illusion. It is a series of shapes and lines that continue to linger after one has stopped viewing the picture or object. The same could be attributed to the mesh. The body is no more, but the afterimage lingers, only this time, the pain is more perceptible, depicted by the nails.

The mentioned artwork is a part of Laxman Kotturu’s solo debut, ‘Footprints on a Broken Mirror’. It previews on August 10 and will run through September 9, 2017 at Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai.