Mahatama Gandhi visualised an India where every village would be self-sustaining and where people would preserve nature. Gandhi’s vision for the country and its people can be found in Kerala-based artist Vincent Pallissery’s work. Today, Vincet is one of the few artists in India practising the mirror anamorphosis style in different mediums.
Done in 2009, Gandhi Park was his first work of mirror anamorphosis, a technique he chanced upon and fell in love with immediately. It took him around nine months to create his first work. The sparkling polished steel cylinder beckons your attention. On drawing closer, the painting on the horizontal frame on the table takes you on a trip to a Gandhi Park in your city, with meandering streams, flowers swaying seductively. There are children and adults taking a few minutes off from their busy schedule. The impeccable shine on the mirror-like cylinder placed in the centre ignites the curiosity. As you go nearer, the image of MK Gandhi—powerful, yet serene, glares at you. You can trace the image of the Mahatma in the sunset of his life. The multi-dimensional layers of meanings unfold in the painting.
“I am into designing. When I was working with a firm in Irinjalakuda, my friend sent across an email with images of anamorphosis art. It tickled my curiosity. I browsed for hours and researched it and realised that the once sought-after technique and popular among Renaissance masters is being pursued by a few hands. I realised that it was my calling and learnt from whatever I could lay my hands on. Avatar Singh is a master of this art. I have been greatly inspired by him, especially, by his portrait of J R D Tata,” says this self-taught artist who is trained in applied art.
While working as a designer in a firm, he spent his spare time delving into his new-found passion. The painting, which can be done in any media, is based on the fact that when the mirror-like polished steel cylinder is placed in the centre, it reflects the image you have in mind.
“We have to blend maths, physics, art and optical illusion. It’s a tedious task, for it involves a lot of mathematical precision, the circumference of the circular art work, the radius of the cylinder, the angle at which it is placed and the raw materials used to create the magic. The painting is designed on the canvas in oil, acrylic, charcoal or any media in a way that another picture appears on the cylinder to give a double impact,” says Vincent.
Sourcing the right high grade stainless steel cylinder, polishing it and placing it at a proper place is a must to get the desired results. The works are layered with meaning connecting commonalities and differences to bring out profound truths we see around in nature. How new forms emerge from totally different patterns and the interlinking of the horizontal and vertical.
The art was once used as a mode of conveying secrets during war but Vincent spreads the message of peace and harmony through his pieces. Another frame has the image of Mother Teresa on the cylinder. Vincent created the image of Lord Ganesha on the cylinder, with a Ganesha temple in mind where rats are given a free hand. The horizontal frame has rats hunched together in rows lapping up the overflowing milk. The grey and white bordered by gold, symbolising the temple against a red background goes on to create the image of Ganesha on the cylinder.
Vincent, who completed his diploma at the College of Fine Arts in Thrissur, has been into graphic designing and painting for the past 17 years. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi commands attention in one of his works while you can trace the image of former President APJ Abdul Kalam in another. Vincent has done portraits of many greats and now he is experimenting with other surfaces, spherical and conical. After his attempts with a five-inch ball turned successful, he is now visualising a work on a one-foot ball.