Red Brick Residency Project (after Abol Tabol)
(PS Plate Lithography and Serigraphy)
আয়রে ভ োলো ভেয়োল-ভেোলো (Ay re bholA kheyAl kholA) Come happy fool whimsical cool
স্বপনর োলো নোচিরয় আয়, (svapandolA bAjiye Ay) Come dreaming dancing fancy-free
আয়রে পোগল আর োল তোর োল (Ay re pAgal Abol tAbol) Come mad musician glad glusician
মত্ত মো ল োজিরয় আয়। (matta mAdal bAjiye Ay) Beating your drum with glee
[Glibberish-Gibberish, p.3 : Abol Tabol by Sukanta Chaudhuri](1)
Coming to Kolkata, I got fascinated with what I saw all around me. I was introduced to the text called "Abol Tabol"(2), which translates as "The Weird and the Absurd". The words Abol Tabol grabbed my attention and came back to me again and again. Trying to find out more about the catchy words, I came across definitions like unrelated, unsorted, aesthetics of nonsense, weird and random, playful bounces of perfectly fine choices, faulty in places, etc. Taking the idea behind the book forward, I took the liberty to work freely, without preconceived narrative or definitive meaning. The process involved creating in a style of free association(3), in an attempt to create a sort of 'compositional gibberish'; abstracting both time and space, articulating spaces of both anxiety and dysfunction.
The illustrations of composite creatures are taken from ‘Abol Tabol’ (appearing in the prints) they are placed within a setting from the images taking off from the photos I clicked over my time at the Residency (mostly at our Residence(4).
To me, the creative process synthesised the disciplines of painting, drawing, photography, and collage into a cohesive whole. The images and videos are an overflow of information of sorts, conveying multiple viewpoints simultaneously, in an attempt to communicate the intensity of the city - the results are both inexplicable and familiar. Kaleidoscopic and toying with the psychedelic, the videos became a moving-image sketchbook.
Coming to this historically and culturally rich space, I was flooded with images and experiences reminding me of childhood trips to an amusement park fascinated by the architectural heritage which I found unparallel. I knew that it required more than one medium for me to express this impression. In the process, I started to look out of my studio trying to find extensions to my work and ways to appropriate them. I am very much aware that every image and object contains an inherent meaning. Putting many objects together may lead to a creation of a unique, new meaning in the same way several short stories make a big story when construction is in play. The entire experience of working on this project made an exploration of the possibility of letting the image lose its meaning under the weight of the spectacle.
1 - Taken from the translation of Abol Tabol by Sukanta Chaudhuri of the select nonsense of Sukumar Ray (1987), where "Glusician" is not a typo. Its utter unjustifiability is the point of the poem. (https://www.lehigh.edu/The_Sense_in_Nonsense)
2 - A collection of Bengali children's poems and rhymes composed by Sukumar Ray, first published on 19 September 1923 by U. Ray and Sons publishers.
3 - Free association is also a Surrealist technique included in “Automatism”.
4 - Red Brick Residency is a guest house located on Sarat Bose Road where we stayed during our time at the residency. It is a bungalow built in the 1940's or 50's, furnished with a collection of paintings, antiques and period furniture artefacts. The caretakers of the house with whom we interacted on daily basis, including Nandu Bhaiya and Shankar Dada, also appear as a part of the compositions. We were informed that the bungalow will be sold/ knocked down soon after we leave. We witnessed numerous potential buyers coming to see the property. This work also becomes a way to archive the building’s surroundings, objects and memories.
•Red Brick Residency Project (after Abol Tabol) no : 4 Serigraphy (Photo Transfer Technique)
(Without Mount) Sheet Size: 16.5 x 12 inches (Image Printed size: 14x 9.5 inches) ; No of Serigraphy Prints on Display: 1 (one)
• Red Brick Residency Project (after Abol Tabol) no. 1,2,3,5, PS Plate (Photo-lithography) (Photo Transfer Technique)
(Without Mount) Sheet Size: 15 x 11 inches (Image Printed size: Appox. 10 x 7 inches) ; No of PS Plate Prints on Display: 4 (four)
Digital Collages/Compositions converted into Analogue Prints using traditional mediums like Serigraphy and PS Plate/UV-Lithography with the Photo-Transfer Technique. The printing was executed at the Dept. of Print Making, Kala-Bhavan, Visva- Bharati University, Santiniketan.
About the Techniques employed:
PS Plate or the Pre-Sensitised Plate comes under the category of Photolithography, also called optical lithography or UV lithography. It uses light to transfer a geometric pattern (here – pixels- from a photo transfer process to a photo-sensitive (light-sensitive) chemical photoresist on the substrate. The image that is transferred is a positive image of the 'negative' made on a gateway sheet. In that sense, the transfer is Positive to Positive. A series of chemical treatments enables deposition of new material in the desired pattern upon the material underneath the photoresist. Photolithography shares some fundamental principles with photography. The related term "photo-lithography" refers to the use of photographic images in lithographic printing, these images may be printed directly from a stone or from a metal plate, as in offset printing.
I am grateful to the Dept. of Print Making, Kala Bhavana, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan for all the help and support provided. (Associate Prof. Arpan Mukherjee, Associate Prof. Ajit Seal; Students Volunteer Team: Raja Boro, Sweety Chakma, Aakash Melveettil, Kamala Khadka, Bihan Das, Donna Bose, Jasneet Singh Bindra and others).