The work for the exhibition was derived from another work I had done last year in a residency context at BigCi (photograph on the right). Adapting a site specific work to a gallery context was an interesting challenge.
The “Exploring BigCi" exhibition curated by Diana Robson was a special experience for me. I was honoured to be Hawkesbury Regional Gallery's first international artist-in-residence. During the course of the installation I got to know several of the wonderful people working at the gallery . I also had the opportunity to meet with some amazing artists –Nicola Moss and Kath Fries from Australia and Claudia Leuke from Germany.
In the first version of this work the plants were hung within a shed-like building that opens onto the forest and so the forest and its greenery are the context within which the work is seen . The plants were collected from the forest floor outside. So if I ran out of raw materials I just had to take a walk into the surrounding forests and collect some more. Creating the work in the gallery at Windsor however meant that the plants had to be collected from the Blue Mountains and transported to the gallery. It became important to ensure enough plants were collected before-hand. Also gallery installation time was limited and I had to react to the new space relatively quickly and build most of the installation within a few days. Luckily I had a lot of support from volunteers and staff to help me collect the plants, transport them as well as carry out the actual work of installation.
I was eager to see how I could adapt the work to respond to the gallery space. This time round I was keen to create the plant screens as though floating in space. Also instead of a single high screen, this time I layered the work by allowing the screens to be seen through each other and also by letting the plants interact with their own shadows.
I also integrated the shadows of the work on the wall with a wall drawing and collage of plants.
Starting from shadows, to pencil drawing, the wall drawings were made progressively stronger. They acquire colour as they move away from the shadows of the plant installation. The brilliant colours in the wall drawings are intended to balance the dense browns in the deadplant installation. To view the finished works click "Dead Plant's Don't Grow 2" and "Unknown, Unsung"
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.