"mʌlti is an exhibition featuring the artists Christopherson Ho (Singapore), Jamie Tan (Singapore), Kyung Sun Jun (Korea), Lam Yau Sum (Hong Kong/China), Lijie Ong (Singapore), Martha Chaudhry (U.S.A/Singapore), Nandita Mukand (India/Singapore), and Wei Li Leow (Singapore). The works presented traverse a multitude of media, exploring the reciprocal relationship between content and form. Medium functions to transpose ephemeral thought into corporeal vessels, giving expression tangibility. Yet its purpose is far more than auxiliary; each material has a signature of its own and dictates content as much as it is dictated by content. Whatever their medium of choice, each artist’s practice is underscored by the same desire for self-expression. The works in this exhibition have been crafted in a plethora of mediums, both traditional and contemporary; juxtaposed so, a conversation between the materiality of each medium is sparked."
It was wonderful to be back in the Australian Blue Mountains for another residency, this time during the Australian winter. This residency was sponsored by the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery and a good portion of it was spent creating site-specific installations at the gallery. But there was enough time to explore other work as well. High on the list of priorities was my investigation of the fascinating plant life in the area.
I was also intrigued by the powdery lichen on the tree barks and stones. Rae Bolotin (a wonderful artist who runs the residency program) and I played around with some indian pigment that had been lying around in her studio for 15 years. This became the starting point for a series of experiments in blending artificial colour onto organic materials. I tried out various colours, materials, textures as well as installation options.
This residency took place during the Australian winter. Experiencing winter in the southern hemisphere for the first time forced me to rethink my assumptions about how I perceive weather, seasons, the position of the sun in the sky.
The walks around the area were perhaps the most productive part of this residency experience. Experiencing the beautiful sights, bird sounds and the smell of eucalyptus in the air quietened my mind. Soon creative ideas and solutions for things I had been wrestling with for some time came popping in. Things just fell in place and after a long time I was filling sketchbooks with fully formed ideas I can begin work on.
Here are some photographs from my walks...
In the hurly burly of everyday city life I often long for that experience of connection, of deep stillness, that comes when one is in natural surroundings.
When in nature I am particularly fascinated with old trees. I often stop walking and look at them for ages. I have sketchbooks upon sketchbooks filled with sketches and writings about trees. The act of focused observation brings about a deepened awareness of nature and of the moment in time.
My imagination is tickled by the fact that old trees have been around for generations before I was born-they have eavesdropped on the secrets, heartaches and fears of those who came before and they will probably be standing tall when my own life and all its components so precious to me today are over. There is something oddly centering in this reflection.
Nature and its processes are unresting and also unhurried. The more I focus on this vein of thinking the more I am aware of a depth in the processes of the universe that makes our petty everyday concerns seem like surface ripples.
Newspaper with all of its stories is the very essence of worldliness. It also epitomizes the ephemeral as its value is over as soon as it has been read. In this work I have dissolved newspaper into organic materials-grass, henna, vegetable wastes, coffee, to contemplate upon the fleeting nature of worldly concerns in the face of the more pervasive nature of universal forces.
The very act of building up the work one layer at a time, waiting for it to dry before the next layer could be applied began to mimic the processes of the natural world. The structure took months to complete.
Nandita Mukand is a Singapore-based artist. Her work deals with the relationship with Nature and spirituality from within the contemporary urban context. She employs materiality to question the impact urban life has on our experience of time and the meaning we give to our own existence.