AI6_23_2017_2_24_28_AM_Sumakshimain.jpg

Traversing a thin line between illusion, metaphor and reality, Sumakshi Singh bases her work on the principle of space and place. Her means of putting across an idea on the table would mean experiencing it first.

Browsing through her work at the Leaving the Terrestrial: It’s Own Kind of Archive exhibit at Bhau Daji Lad, groundless thread drawing displays was what intrigued our interest in the artist initially. These thread-like drawing displays are in reality embroidered works, devoid of the ground fabric - floating on glass surfaces.

The exhibit showcased several embroidered forms that were set up as mock maritime and botanical specimens created with wire and thread.

"Research for a project would mean visiting the space in silence, tuning into what it feels like to be within this particular space, looking at the light, absorbing the smell, moving around and processing how the body would move through it if I created a certain intervention here", says Sumakshi.

Working more on gut feeling, Sumakshi does not make finished plans before commencing a project, as was the case with the groundless thread drawings. For her the process of making something often starts with clarifying and expanding the content of the art-work, (and in the process) refining not just the manifested work but also some inner understanding.

The letters were traced on a translucent cloth with a pencil and further the traced words were embroidered over as a means of securing it.

Her love for embroidery was inherited from the passion her mother displayed towards the craft. The concept struck her when she was embroidering and felt that the embroidery should hover in its beauty.

As an homage to her mother, who she lost a couple of years ago, and her passion for gardening, Singh traversed the realms of a transitory life, memories, time and fragility through the displays. Singh began to trace and embroider not just the words from her letters but also the pressed and preserved plants from her garden which were sometimes sent in these letters.

Bhau Daji Lad Exhibition Setup

Setup of the 18ft wall coral installation

AI6_23_2017_2_24_28_AM_Sumakshimain.jpg
Lab 28 Jun 2017

Sensory Experiences: Exploring Sumakshi Singh’s relationship with embroidery, space and place

Intrigued by the groundless thread drawings displayed at the Bhau Daji Lad museum by artist Sumakshi Singh, CQ began exploring the ideas hidden beneath her free-floating embroidery patterns suspended in glass vitrines. We trace the concept of intricate linearity, spaces and the narratives of the artist and reveal the unspoken words of the embroidered specimens.

Traversing a thin line between illusion, metaphor and reality, Sumakshi Singh bases her work on the principle of space and place. Her means of putting across an idea on the table would mean experiencing it first. "Research for a project would mean visiting the space in silence, tuning into what it feels like to be within this particular space, looking at the light, absorbing the smell, moving around and processing how the body would move through it if I created a certain intervention here", says Sumakshi.

Traversing a thin line between illusion, metaphor and reality, Sumakshi Singh bases her work on the principle of space and place. Her means of putting across an idea on the table would mean experiencing it first.

The intensity of her relationship with space makes her work labor intensive. Singh chooses to slow down, preferring to suspend mental conditioning in her quiet space. “Here my questions can be aired out, the conscious mind can be suspended and from this space a lot of the art-making happens”, she says.

Browsing through Sumakshi's work at her solo exhibition, Leaving the Terrestrial: It’s Own Kind of Archive at Bhau Daji Lad, groundless thread drawing displays was what intrigued our interest in the artist initially. These thread-like drawing displays are in reality embroidered works, devoid of the ground fabric and floating on glass surfaces. The exhibit showcased several of these embroidered patterns that were set up as mock maritime and botanical specimens created with wire and thread.

Browsing through her work at the Leaving the Terrestrial: It’s Own Kind of Archive exhibit at Bhau Daji Lad, groundless thread drawing displays was what intrigued our interest in the artist initially. These thread-like drawing displays are in reality embroidered works, devoid of the ground fabric - floating on glass surfaces.

The exhibit showcased several embroidered forms that were set up as mock maritime and botanical specimens created with wire and thread.

"Research for a project would mean visiting the space in silence, tuning into what it feels like to be within this particular space, looking at the light, absorbing the smell, moving around and processing how the body would move through it if I created a certain intervention here." 

"Research for a project would mean visiting the space in silence, tuning into what it feels like to be within this particular space, looking at the light, absorbing the smell, moving around and processing how the body would move through it if I created a certain intervention here", says Sumakshi.

The Beginning of Leaving the Terrestrial

Working more on gut feeling, Sumakshi does not make finished plans before commencing a project, as was the case with the groundless thread drawings. For her the process of making something often starts clarifying and expanding the content of the art-work, (and in the process) refining not just the manifested work but also some inner understanding.

She began reading her mother’s letters (who she lost in 2013) as a way of reconnecting with her. As an homage to her mother and spurred by her passion for gardening, Singh traversed the realms of a transitory life, memories, time and fragility through the displays. Singh began to trace and embroider not just the words from her letters but also the pressed and preserved plants from her garden that were sometimes sent in these letters.

More than just a trace

The letters were traced on a translucent cloth with a pencil and the traced words were embroidered over as a means of securing it. Sumakshi says, “In embroidery the image is literally tied to the ground or fabric. The needle pierces it, grabs the ground from both sides and ties itself to the ground for support. It feels like such a fixed and secure way of making a mark. The embroidered image is not an image on one side of a surface like that of a drawing, that can be easily erased. To remove part of the image would mean to unravel the entire thing. So given the nature of the subject matter, memory, [the feeling of] missing, trying to touch the intangible [made it feel] like the fabric was too present [and tangible]. I felt it necessary for these words to levitate and be full of breath and air, and space, and float freely, and be light.”

Working more on gut feeling, Sumakshi does not make finished plans before commencing a project, as was the case with the groundless thread drawings. For her the process of making something often starts with clarifying and expanding the content of the art-work, (and in the process) refining not just the manifested work but also some inner understanding.

The letters were traced on a translucent cloth with a pencil and further the traced words were embroidered over as a means of securing it.

Skeletal Delicacy of suspended threads

Her love for embroidery was inherited from the passion her mother had for the craft. The concept struck her when she was embroidering and felt that the embroidery should hover in its beauty. The structure of the cloth however only made it heavy. This is when she set out to extract all fabric. This involved the cutting of the fabric and dissolving some of the edges and leaving behind the thread skeleton of embroidery alone. The skeletal delicacy was later suspended in glass vitrines by the use of transparent nylon strings.

Her love for embroidery was inherited from the passion her mother displayed towards the craft. The concept struck her when she was embroidering and felt that the embroidery should hover in its beauty.

As an homage to her mother and spurred her passion for gardening, Singh traversed the concept of a transitory life, memories, time and fragility through the displays.

As an homage to her mother, who she lost a couple of years ago, and her passion for gardening, Singh traversed the realms of a transitory life, memories, time and fragility through the displays. Singh began to trace and embroider not just the words from her letters but also the pressed and preserved plants from her garden which were sometimes sent in these letters.

Her first embroidered project were the flowers that came along with a handwritten letter from her mother. With hair-like black thread she created flowers such as Orchids, Sweet William, Lotus, Hydrangeas and many others. This led her to explore other botanical and marine forms, increasing the scale upto the 18-feet-long coral found at the Bhau Daji Lad museum.

The concept of intricate linearity, the concept of flattened flowers in monochrome, the play of positive and negative spaces, the oddity of levitation and the stories she narrates through her work could literally left me on the fence questioning where art began and craft overtook.

Bhau Daji Lad Exhibition Setup

Setup of the 18ft wall coral installation

If we were to pick another of Sumakshi’s projects, the ‘Breath Song’ video documentation would have been a fascinating choice.Visit this link to know more.