Image courtesy of Vandana
Luca Curci talks with Vandana during ANIMA MUNDI FESTIVAL 2019 – RIUALS at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi.
Vandana, born in Haryana, has completed her MFA in Fine Art from London, UK, after attending Rachana Sansad Academy of Fine Arts & Craft, Mumbai, and achieving Masters degree in English from New Delhi following her Bachelors degree from Haryana. She has exhibited her work in India (Including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata), United Kingdom (including London), Switzerland, South Korea (Daegu Art Fair) and Thailand (Bangkok Art Biennale 2018). Her practice involves installation, mixed media, sculpture & two dimensional work, live performance, and video. Recently, she has performed her first long durational Live Performance (175 hours in 22 days) titled – I The Flame, at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, comissioned by Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI). She has been awarded Kingston Award Gold Level in 2018 and GREAT Scholarship Award in 2015 by Kingston University & British Council London. Vandana was awarded Third Prize for her Live Performance Chapter Close, at pratyagati-Journey Home, exhibition cum competition in Mumbai,juried by eminent artists Mr. Subodh Gupta & Ms. Shilpa Gupta, and organized by Stiftung Futur, Switzerland in 2017. Her work, City of London, has been featured as staff pick of the week during Jerwood Drawing Prize 2016 a year long touring exhibition in the UK. She received Creative Artist Award by Gallery Sree Arts in 2014. She had been an artist in residence at Stiftung Futur Artist Residency Program, Switzerland, in April-June 2013. Vandana received Excellence Award-First Prize for her monograph on Silence, by RSAFAC, Mumbai in 2011, and the Best Artist 2003, title award, by Adarsh College (MDU) in addition to University Rank 13th in 2003.
Image courtesy of Vandana
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Vandana – Being an artist, for me, art is a perspective, it is a way of looking at things, people, situations, surroundings and I believe that – as there is no specific definition for “What is Life ?”, there is no definite definition for what exactly art is. Art is also a power of imagination, it is also a perception, an expression and a purposeful expression to make a positive difference in the society. Art is also a result of connection to one’s inner self that’s why I always say – “Art is spirituality with tinge of impurity”.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
V – I started my journey of art by copying paintings of Gods and Goddesses and copying other artists posters. The city I was brought up in did not have much facility and education on art so during my bachelor’s degree I learnt painting by copying more than by my own imagination. After that my practice kept changing a lot during my three years of art studies in Mumbai, Artist Residency in Switzerland and then MFA in London. The experience of noise and craving to achieve a silent, peaceful state of mind was the experience which triggered me to create my first major series of works titled, “Silence”. During this time I moved from a very small peaceful town to a metro city like Mumbai. Since then I have always been interested in knowing what is unknown, what is difficult to reach and what is beyond…there is another truth, another reality than this visible world as could be experienced.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
V – Artist plays the of a “transformer” which can bring a good positive change in the society. I feel that the artist becomes a “channel” for the change to take place through in contemporary time by devoting even his/her body as a subject for art exploration as in performance art, which is truly amazing!
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
V – I find my inspiration by observing the physical and mental acts and activities of people and, their behaviour I am always looking for the specific zone in someone’s mind, not in the physical world but reflected by their personal & social behaviour, their physical activities which are the medium to take me to something which is unknown and beyond and rarely known. I also find my inspiration from the concept of Energy which makes you connect with your own self as well as others with awareness and this also has been my effort to make my audience feel their own self and identify themselves with what I do because ultimately we all and the whole universe is a “whole one thing” and intricately interdependent!!!
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
V – Getting opportunities to perform live when an idea comes into my mind and that idea direly needs immediate execution in form of a live performance which require big coincidences or I would say the universe’s Will which of course nobody has any control over but that’s an interesting part of being a performance artist as well.
Image courtesy of Vandana
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
V – The concept of the festival – Anima Mundi in itself is so pure, so original that you can expect the artworks which everyone can identify with and everyone can relate with in some way or the other. The moment you say the word “anima mundi” which means an intrinsic connection among living and nonliving entities in the universe makes you think about the relationship you have as a living being with all that is, so called, “non-living”, “living”, nature and all other beings including of course humans. This is a fantastic concept which has always been there but not highlighted so often… It is like the concept of “what is water?” – for a fish which is already in the ocean! So it is quite interesting for me. As my research has been on state of mind and energy and how the connection between me, my own self and my work, in addition to, my effort to make the audience connect to themselves through my work and all these underlying subjects, which as a whole, is already more than enough for me to get inspired by the concept of this Anima Mundi Festival. I had been waiting to be part of this festival with my artworks for past one year, so finally I applied in 2019 and I would like to say a big thank to Mr. Luca Curci and his whole team for supporting my projects so nicely and presenting them in this festival!
LC – 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?
V – My video work, “Super Ritual”, presented in this festival is from a series of artworks (majorly performance videos) called, “rituals of self”, which is about breaking the rules of my own body and using the organs for an unusual function and trying to go beyond the bodily barriers and enter into the space of pure energy and the connection between “the Will Power and the Energy”, so I would say that my work is not a message but an exploration in that unknown zone which is so difficult to describe in words or through physical material, but when you watch the video you can feel or maybe at times you can experience that specific type of energy and very unusual act happening very smoothly because of that state of mind which had been prepared by putting efforts for full one year. When we talk about “anima mundi” which is an intrinsic connection among all that is “existing”, we are talking about that invisible, intangible connection which can only be felt and my video “Super Ritual” as well as my live performance (on the opening day) titled – “Delitescent”, both of them are meant to make my audience feel and experience that energy, that connection in various ways of “Feeling Something Unusual & Connect” and that’s how my artworks are connected to the theme of the entire festival I think. Rest, I like to leave my work open for interpretation.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
V – ITSLIQUID platform is a super cool platform for emerging artists but you find really mature work in its exhibitions – which is guaranteed! As we can see that the theme of the festival in itself is not an easy one! It is a good great initiative by Mr. Luca Curci and I also like the fact that some of its events such as, “Anima Mundi Festival” take place during the Venice Biennale, which also gives the space and platform to the artworks and the artists among the Venice Biennale public which is so important. Apart from this particular platform of Anima Mundi Festival, ITSLIQUID also has a lot of opportunities for artists, designers and architects etc. throughout the year which I really really appreciate and I’m sure that ITSLIQUID is having constant increase in the audiences of its events because of the content presented in each event and the way it is curated as well as presented.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
V – Definitely I found the very systematic organisation of RITUALS | Anima Mundi Festival Exhibitions and the Openings at THE ROOM and Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi. You immediately fall in love with the space! Since the time I applied and got selected for the same, till I performed live on the 12th May at Palazzo Ca’zanardi and even after that, ITSLIQUID team has amazingly supporting me in the best possible way including answering all my queries with so much of patience and understanding along with taking care of all my concerns pertaining to the exhibitions etc., as I came far away from India especially for my live performance and the Anima Mundi Festival Exhibition of my work in this group show. I’m very happy to be a part of this exclusive festival and exhibition! Many many thanks and congratulations to Mr. Luca Curci and to the entire ITSLIQUID team for these great shows!
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
V – Yes, definitely!!! ITSLIQUID GROUP is already doing an amazing job, in promoting international artists globally which is not only in fine arts but also in architecture, designandother interdisciplinary art such as dance, theatre etc. which is very cool in itself and also, in creating great opportunities for artists to be presented by ITSLIQUID GROUP. I wish all the very best to ITSLIQUID GROUP for all its future events and endeavours to support emerging artists internationally!
Image courtesy of Vandana