L.N.Tallur a craftsman but also a philosopher, asks us to be conscious, curious viewers.
LN.Tallur, born in 1971, is an international visual artist who spent his early years growing up in a rural community of Karnataka. His education in art began with an M.A. degree in Contemporary Fine Art Practice from India.
Next was an M.F.A. degree from the Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, followed by a degree in Museology from Maharaja Sayyajirao University of Baroda, and a B.F.A. (Painting) from (CAVA), Mysore University. In the year 2012 he won the Škoda award in the Indian contemporary art category.
His works often speak of the acute poverty which is prevalent in several pockets of India. Employing Indian signs and symbols, Tallur conceives works that are characteristic of the underbelly of India. Through a clever handling of his art, he successfully manages to translate the anxiety of the subject matter to a global audience. Presently, Tallur divides his time between India and South Korea.
Recently, The Inside Track sat down with L.N.Tallur for a tête-à-tête, thanks to which we were given a peek into the behind the scenes operation of his latest work. We share here the Q&A which allowed us to plumb the depth of his creative soul and gauge the expertise of his unique set of skills.
We believe you live and work out of two countries, namely India and Korea. How does this help your art?
I have a studio each in India and South Korea. During the Korean winter, I live in Kundapur in India and during the Indian summer, I am in Daegu in South Korea. Staying in two countries was a deliberate plan, to break monotony. It is an exercise to think through brain memory and muscle memory.
Talk about your recent public sculpture.
My public sculpture ‘Coinage’ in Manipal completes its first anniversary this week. This sculpture represents the local history of the Alupa Kingdom and contemporary history through coins and also coin making. It is a 27 feet high sculpture made of 7 different stones. I have given this sculpture to the Manipal Group on a long term loan. This new system in public sculpture making may help sculptors, as we don’t have a public sculpture making culture here, except for making someone’s bust.
Are there any messages that you send out through the art you create from time to time?
Contemporary art is not a propaganda based medium. It does not claim to send out a message. As a practitioner of contemporary art, I respond to the happenings around me and if someone sees a message in it, probably our experience and responses to those happenings match. I don’t see anything beyond that.
What project are you working on now?
I am working on a survey show of a selection of 30 of my works created during the last 12 years of my practice. It’s called ‘Interference Fringe’ and has been curated by Gary Garrido Schneider. It opens on the 5th of May, 2019 at Grounds for sculpture at Hamilton which is a one hour drive from New York City. The show will go on till January 2020. Let this be an open invitation for all your readers.
Can you tell us a little bit about the theme of the show?
An Indian sculpture from the 10th century is my inspiration. It is a sculpture belonging to Madya Pradesh and is currently in the possession of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I am responding to this sculpture through my work.
The museum is lending this piece to the exhibition and it will be juxtaposed with my sculptures. It is a broken part of a bigger sculpture and the museum has labelled it ‘Terrifying Attendant Spirits’. I will be responding to this sculpture using bone as a medium.
What part of creating art you enjoy the most?
The process of thinking and then making is what I enjoy the most. For example, in my work titled Alzheimer, wood is intentionally infested with white ants. I controlled that invasion of wood using termite repellents. It was an amazing experience to watch how it is possible to take the help of little insects. Also, according to me this represents how our cultural memory is slowly being eaten away.