20 December 2013
India Love . . . 3, 2, 1: Gallery Hopping.
Today my residency mate and I went gallery hopping. We jumped on the metro and within about 20 minutes, we reached a stop that was home to probably 15 galleries. We went to about half of them. But India is a funny, funny place. There are rarely any signs. So while we were at galleries all day today and--as expected--I took a million pictures, two of the 3 images (and both videos) I have decided to post here are from our journey getting to the galleries. It was not common for the people we came into contact with to know where something was . . . I posted the top image of Eleanor showing her phone's Google map to the tuk tuk drivers. None of them knew how to get from the metro station to the first stop on our gallery list. It was hilarious. There are 3 men pictured above, but at one point there were as many as 5 guys trying to see where we were going. And this was just the beginning! The first gallery that we came to was Exhibit 320. And one of the pieces featured at this gallery--the work in the second image above--was my favorite piece from our whole day. The image I've posted does it absolutely no justice at all. The full piece was an installation that was room sized. The room was embellished with all of these little vignettes: on the floor, on the ceiling, on the walls, in corners. Each one of these tiny compositions highlighting various things in the room like cracks or peeling paint or nail holes. And each one played with shadows and color; some had wire, some had string. All of them made you stop and look just a little bit harder at what was going on. I think the smallest piece that I found in the space was no bigger than my pinky fingernail, filled with a rainbow of colors. It was a beautiful space. And to top it off, there was a process video playing just outside the installation. This showed the artist working out a space, talking to the camera and teaching viewers about her process. It was fantastic: she would take a piece of glassine paper and lay it over a window or piece of glass in a doorway to mark out the space. She would fully sketch on the paper, intermittently putting down her pen to physically go into the space where then she would have someone take a picture of her in the space with the sketch laying over her. That way she could tell how viewers might interact with her plan. After the drawing was complete, she would project the finished drawing into the space and turn it into 3D: making it come to life! It was fabulous. The rest of the day was an absolute trip as we went from gallery to gallery. I say that as if it were an easy feat to get from gallery to gallery, but more times than not we found ourselves in a residential area at the dead end of a street asking for directions. It was the best way to experience the local culture of Delhi. Kids were getting out of school, mothers walking them home presumably asking them how their days were (in Hindi). Sellers out with their carts piled high with beautiful vegetables. Friendly guards at houses and offices waving and smiling, with their helpful dogs dressed properly nearby (see here on Facebook). Garbage men hanging off of the back of trucks meandering up and down the streets. And we went through such a variety of neighborhoods. Sometimes the streets were paved, other times they weren't. Sometimes there were beautifully manicured gardens, clothing lines with brightly colored sarees hanging out to dry. It was incredibly picturesque. The last picture above is of this really lovely man who offered to stop after I all but chased him down the path. Just look at that mound of brightly colored yarn! You better believe I wanted a picture of that . . . Gorgeous! The final stop on our gallery tour was Khoj. And what a completely amazing space it was! They were in the process of installing the next show, but no matter. We got to speak to the gallery manager and see the space. It was this sort of half open-air, half glass-walled three story space with an incredible view from the roof. We happened to be there at sunset. And what was really exciting about this space was the neighborhood it was in. It was completely diverse! So many varied people milling about. It was so exciting to see! Several of the buildings around the space had huge graffiti projects on them, really giant works. One was of two squids looking at each other: mint green, black, and white. It was huge! Each squid was probably 30 feet long and 15 feet high. And the building directly across from the gallery was being torn down. So from the roof we were staring into each room of this building, each room framed by this sort of crumbly rubble. Some of the rocks were even painted in bright rainbow colors. Seeing that across from us while standing on the roof, with the sun setting behind the residential buildings down the street where families were sitting out on their balconies and laundry lines were weaving in and out of the space . . . It just felt really amazing. Like we were in this sort of larger installation. It's really hard to explain, but it was a pretty magical ending to a completely incredible day. "Oh, the places you'll go!!"