April 24, 2019

Conceptual Art at Grounds For Sculpture

“APOCALYPSE”: A detail of one of Tallur L.N.’s installations in “Interference Fringe | Tallur L.N.,” coming to Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton May 5 through January 20. The exhibit brings together more than 25 sculptures in a range of media including found objects, carved stone and wood, cast bronze, and works embedded in concrete and coated in oil.

In May, Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) will present the work of multinational conceptual artist Tallur L.N. in his first survey exhibition in the United States. On view May 5 through January 5, 2020 and filling two multi-level galleries, “Interference Fringe | Tallur L.N.” brings together a survey of over 25 sculptures created during the past 13 years in a range of media including found objects, appropriated industrial machines, carved stone and wood, cast bronze, and works embedded in concrete and coated in oil.

The exhibition includes the premiere of a new work and the exhibition’s partial namesake, Fringe (2019), a towering 18’-tall site-specific installation coated in bone meal, bone char, and crushed bone, which was inspired by historic Indian temple fragments in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Also on view is the debut of a video work, Interference (2019), inaugurating Tallur’s use of film as an artistic medium. This slow-motion video captures smoke-like plumes of dust being beaten out of a historic rug from the collection of the Junagagh Museum in Gujart, India, and obscuring its intricate pattern.

In one gallery, works are sited on industrial scaffolding, an intervention which upends typical museum displays. While visitors are invited to walk through and ascend the structure, it intentionally obstructs views and provides partial access, thereby forcing viewers to accept multiple perspectives on the sculptures and their meaning. In another installation, Apocalypse (2010), viewers must squeeze through cage bars and are invited to deposit coins into an industrial polishing machine. Following Tallur’s careful instructions, the coins become “civilized” and are polished to the point of denuding their value.

Tallur’s practice explores the ways in which humans navigate the absurdities of a world rife with competing anxieties, desires, and fears. At a moment in our collective history when society is often at odds with itself, and the lines between reality or truth can sometimes feel arbitrary, Tallur’s work amplifies and distorts what we hold as true or sacred and illuminates paradoxes and contradictions.

Building on the rich sculptural traditions of India, he references ancient iconography, Hindu symbols, and mythology. Tallur purposefully obscures, transforms, and subverts the traditional reading of these historic references as he creates conceptual metaphors through the manipulation and integration/dis-integration of materials. His work acknowledges the complexity of the global world we live in and creates dynamic tension between the past and present while provoking questions about the future.

The exhibition title alludes to the notion that we simultaneously carry forward and censor memories of the past, and that this subjective retelling becomes history. Tallur likens this process of collective memory and collective amnesia to two strong waves. In physics, “interference” is a phenomenon in which two waves come together. If their frequency and wavelength are in sync, they can amplify, diminish, or completely negate each other. The idea of conflicting signals speaks to the competing stories, celebration of select relics, and contradictory meanings we bestow.

A recipient of The Skoda Prize for Indian Contemporary Art, Tallur has exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions in Germany, South Korea, India, China, and the United States. He is represented by Nature Morte (New Delhi), Gallery Chemould (Mumbai), Arario Gallery (Seoul), and Jack Shainman (New York City), and his work is in public and private collections. He received a BFA in painting from Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (1996), an MFA in museology from Maharaja Sayyajirao University (1998), and an MA in contemporary fine art Practice from Leeds Metropolitan University (2002). Tallur was born in Karnataka, India, and splits his time between his rural family home in Karnataka and the industrial urban city of Daegu, South Korea. This process of moving between cultures informs his global view and brings a fresh perspective to his daily life, politics, technology, and mythology.

Grounds For Sculpture is located at 80 Sculptors Way in Hamilton. For more information, visit www.groundsforsculpture.org.