Interview with Ravinder Surah

Interview with Ravinder SurahImage courtesy of Ravinder Surah

Interview with Ravinder Surah

Luca Curci talks with the artist Ravinder Surah during FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES, second appointment of BORDERS festival, in Venice on August 2016Fine art photographer Ravinder Surah expresses an interesting outlook on the human condition highlighting the ideas of vulnerability and the philosophies of metaphysics, this complex combination amplifies his work to evoke and function on the emotions of the viewer. Surah places great focus on isolating the human from a modern society, bringing nature and humanity together through the modes of physically placing the human with a natural environment but still showing very small details of attachment to an urban civilization humanity would struggle to live without. Focusing on using video and images to display how susceptible we are to the elements surrounding us, Surah also directs emphasis on his own anxieties and personal feelings as stimulation to drive his perplexing work. Surah states “Without comfort we fall into the hands of nature which feeds us with life but suddenly could surrender us to our deaths; without security humanity would struggle to exist”. Placing importance on pushing his work in all directions, Surah primarily focuses on the human condition in directness but also in abstract ways to challenge the viewer’s perceptions and to ultimately provoke thought, leaving the viewer with an array of complex questions that merge with feelings familiar and unknown.

 

Interview with Ravinder SurahImage courtesy of Ravinder Surah

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Luca Curci – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
Ravinder Surah – I created this piece of work in relationship to how the viewer would react to it. Obviously there is never one sole outcome when ones emotional reactions interact with art. This is always something important to remember subconsciously when creating new work. I found the message within the art quite overpowering and immersive since the artwork itself is a bombardment on the viewer’s senses. These are visual, auditory and subliminal attributes working within the video piece that make it somewhat perplexing, however the message does become apparent in time. The message embedded within this piece interrogates issues regarding censorship within media and how this in turn pushes us to be somewhat dismissive of the image. We as a society have taken the image for granted and thus have detached it’s emotive nature, particularly when it comes to atrocity, as a culture which focuses on mass media and new media we have found ourselves desensitised due to its constant and abundant flux of imagery. My intention within the work is to resensitize and obtain some form of visceral response from the viewer; the immersive nature of the video becomes its primary function and with that seduces the reader’s senses.
The work becomes part of Fragmented Identities festival, functioning with the exhibition theme of sense and emotion, it becomes part of a human interaction expressing a fragment of how our boundaries in society betray us and our emotional / visual perceptions. Our emotions as human beings fluctuate, we are never exclusively in one state of mind nor are we in life, we progress and with progression comes this elusiveness, nothing is forever clear, we have to re-examine and test ourselves to regain clarity, from step to step in order to piece back together identity.

 

Interview with Ravinder SurahImage courtesy of Ravinder Surah

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L.C. – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
R. S. – I enjoy the idea of the festival, the concept brings together a vast array of different ideologies relating to philosophy, culture and also different expressions relating to visual appearance and perception. The wealth of diverse mediums encourages the audience to engage with the work, I was pleased to be part of a show that wasn’t medium specific, it is nice and gives artists globally working with an arrangement of different materials and ideas to be shown together in one space. I find the art interacts within the exhibition space uniquely this way. Fragmented Identities inspired me for the same reason of its diverse mediums, I had a lot of work which already existed, some of it I wanted to show so this opportunity gave me a lot of malleability to choose between works and figure out what was best to exhibit in terms of my work. I also came up with some fresh ideas this way, it became rewarding as an inspiration since new work can become of these new ideas, I am excited to see what piece I create next.

L.C. – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
R.V.- Art was something I have always appreciated but it wasn’t until I joined an art course and started to work with art that I found myself falling in love with it. I know this sounds somewhat cliché but it is true. From enrolling on that small course my tutor pushed me and expressed my talent for photography, so that’s when I decided to go to university and three years later I have a BA (Hons) Photography degree which was a huge surprise to me. Out of all the influences I have had, whether that is looking at some beautiful art, visual or none visual, or even just letting life and nature be a guide to me. I would however say one of my biggest influences are my parents and also my tutor Paul, he pushed me to explore photography in the first instance, without him I probably wouldn’t have taken my art much further. University was also a massive influence, I gained a lot from my studying and learned a vast amount, not only regarding art and photography but also myself, family and friends have also been major influences… it is really hard to choose just one so I offer a few examples of inspiration.

 

Interview with Ravinder SurahImage courtesy of Ravinder Surah

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L.C. – What is art for you?
R.V. – Art for me is expression; I have always enjoyed writing poetry, I would say this was my first serious artistic expression that lured me in to wanting to actually think seriously about art and develop myself as an artist. I believe with expression comes a growth of identity. In actuality when creating art you are creating clarity towards yourself and revealing a new part of who it is you are. It may be a political piece of art, something abstract, a personal piece expressing past endeavors, however you approach and complete that piece of art a new passage has been opened, expressed and learned, it’s all a journey.

L.C. – What do you think about the whole organization of the event, the selection of the artists, the communication management and opening ceremony?
R.V. – It’s LIQUID have created opportunities for artists globally, the selection of artists has been interesting for we can see different artistic mediums in the exhibition, backgrounds and approaches to the exhibition title. It’s interesting to see an international assortment of artists jostling for position within the same space and for different reasons, but this is what makes it exciting and overall gives a whole new dynamic to the exhibition.
Overall the organization and communication between artists, management and the community has been well received and methodical, without this I don’t think the exhibitions would have been as successful as they have been, it’s great to see hard and good work come together.

 

Interview with Ravinder SurahImage courtesy of Ravinder Surah

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L.C. – Do you think that this experience could be useful for artists and can contribute to increase personal background?
R.V. – I have always been a believer in the more you persist in pushing yourself into new and different experiences the more you will gain out of the opportunity at hand. I personally trust in the notion of exhibiting your work, even though the internet is a vast and amazing space to submit and exhibit art it doesn’t give you the same exposure or boundaries as a physical exhibition. It is difficult to express the dimensions or the work on the screen, the beauty and aura of the work, a reproduction is never as good as the real thing, to have someone look at my work and the works of others physically and also in another country is great, it has broadened the scope and reach of my work and also myself as a professional.

L.C. – Are you interested in future collaborations with our organization?
R.V. – Of course, it would be interesting to see what exhibitions are planned for the future, after all the organization is international and reaches out to a wide range of artists, professionals and curators. I love showing my work and working with other artists too, seeing more art and being involved in more stimulating shows adds to another exciting journey.

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