C. KRISHNASWAMY (b. 1973)
CONTRADICTING EQUILIBRIUM OF THE EXISTING SENSES
The search is on. For that precarious balance in which we exist. To unveil the disguises we adopt. To unearth the subconscious mind from its hidden depths. For the million memories we have forgotten.
For an assault on our visual and visceral senses. For everything that is temporary, and that elusive permanence. To involuntarily transform. For all that disappears in the evening and reappears with the morning sun. For the connections between people. For a manifestation of unaccomplished desire. To end contradiction. To find equilibrium. And then to realize that there will always be contradiction in equilibrium and equilibrium in contradiction.Contradicting Equilibrium is the artist’s attempt to strip away the external demonstration of his art,and instead truly represent himself and his experiences in a raw and truthful manner. Using his body
as his canvas, Krishnaswamy has dug into his past and his memories to create works that represent different aspects of his life. Each work also attempts to answer questions that the artist has grappled with. Through the experience of creating art using his body, the resulting art works portray the answers to some of his questions and also attempt to showcase the mental and physical struggle that goes into making and showcasing personal aspects of the artist’s life. Staged as a succession of photographs, sculptures, installations and videos, these works showcase his quest for the balance in which we exist and the contradictions we encounter along the way.
Continuing Equilibrium, is a collaborative effort between Yuvaraj Vivek and C Krishnaswamy. Together they travelled to Krishnaswamy’s hometown to bring the artist’s vision to life. Over many days, Krishnaswamy undertook a series of performances which were photographed by Yuvaraj Vivek. The result is a visual interpretation of Krishnaswamy’s imagination through the lens of Yuvaraj Vivek.
Krishnaswamy first appeared on the scene as a professional artist with his solo show titled Linear Memory. At this point Krishnaswamy had completed his Bachelors in Fine Art from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai. This first body of work was an engagement with the abstract. The works were geometric in form and visually the colors were dictated, not by the need to represent the said form, but rather to express a thought process. It was these works that Krishnaswamy started to move into a space of his own, away from the academic pursuits of art and into the exploratory realmof the artist’s mind. This body of work was inspired by the nostalgic memory of his childhood, the colours of the town where he grew up in rural Tamilnadu, the games children played after school and the warmth of close bonds within a large family.
Krishnaswamy then went on to pursue a Masters in Fine Art from the same college. However, Krishnaswamy was always itching to move forward on his path of expression. He thrives on challenging himself, thinking all the time about his context in time and space. One day in mid 2004, Krishnaswamy brought to the gallery a canvas roll which he was very excited to show me. Once unraveled, what was in front of me was an amazing leap forward in his creative endeavour. Krishnaswamy said to me that he was meditating over the idea of immersing himself in his artwork. He did what he knew best. He used his knowledge of yoga and his intent to create something new and came up with the Kundalini Rising series of works.
Until this time Krishnaswamy had been on a linear quest but with the Kundalini Rising series, he saw in himself a greater sense of purpose with his artwork. This drove him on a path that has today resulted in some of his best works. From this juncture, Krishnaswamy furthered his process of self discovery by realizing that the single largest source of inspiration was the lasting bond with his native experiences and these were what engaged him the most. For almost two years he went on a documentation drive of all the activities, places, things and practices surrounding his home and ancestral roots. This time was spent making videos, photographs and translating into artwork the various connections to the traditional narratives he had grown up with. This process resulted in three bodies of work: Internal Medium External Medium, Hidden Meaning and Disguised Forms. By this time Krishnaswamy had built up a large body of work, each with its own narrative and thought process.
Expanding his scale of the metaphorical canvas, Krishnaswamy felt the need to move beyond the confines of a defined space to the vast openness of the entire environment itself. This is when he came to collaborate with photographer Yuvaraj Vivek in an epic series of photoshoots, performances and as I would like to call it, a full immersion into the artwork itself. Both artists worked over a period of a year, at several locations around Krishnaswamy’s hometown and in other locations on the outskirts of Chennai. These series of videos and photographs have been used as is to create the narrative artwork.
The physical representation of this project is in the form of digital prints, video installations and a group of sculptures. Today, when one looks through this large collection of work by Krishnaswamy and his journey till date, one feels the need to take a pause and look back at this remarkably talented artist who has made himself the object, subject and form, leaving himself completely exposed yet honestly open for one and all to be a part of his work and his life. This journey is what Krishnaswamy calls: Contradicting Equilibrium of the Existing Senses.