Blending history and politics

V S Blodsow’s spectrum reminds you of Ellsworth Kelly’s works. The 23-feet diptych is both his love for the late artist and a declaration of his beliefs, ideas and opinions

Published: 08th May 2021 06:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th May 2021 06:08 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Every artwork by V S Blodsow tells a story, something he saw or experienced. The story of his new installation dates back to 2005 when he went shopping at a textile store. The many rows of blouse pieces in every colour caught his eye. Especially the women who were trying to buy the best suitable colour that matches their sarees. That was the genesis of Spectrum.

Now, in 2021, at the Lokame Tharavadu exhibition, he has displayed his fully developed work, ‘Spectrum — Dear Mr Ellsworth Kelly & Others’. The 23 ft-long diptych, uses 99 shades of fabric spools he sourced from a textile shop in Alappuzha. Facing it is an installation titled ‘Left to Right: Fragmented 19: Fragmented Spectrum (Masks); Remaining 19 in the article’. Each of the 19 pillars, with masked busts of the artist himself, is 7.3ft tall. 

Blodsow repurposed the work of late American artist, Ellsworth Kelly. The sculptures, inspired by the Ashoka stupas, are also adorning one mask each with the term Constitution of India spelt out on them. A link to Article 19 of the Constitution, which define the right to free speech, the artist explains.

The work also represents the gender struggles of women starting from Nangeli, who fought against the breast tax a much later generation who strived to protect their dignity at work. “It also foregrounds the struggles of the saleswomen in Kerala textile shops, who had to protest to ensure their rights and workplace dignity. The art is also a representative of our many sexualities and the multiple shades of political opinion”, adds the self-taught artist.

Blodsow’s earlier works used to speak loudly about his politics. But here at Lokame Tharavadu, he has tried to be more subtle. “Maybe, no one even in Alappuzha knew the city offers so much space. Lokame Tharavadu has helped us realise that. The scale of the show gave the artists in Kerala a chance to actualise their concepts. The space and the careful designs of each space by the curator Bose Krishnamachary has given us artists a great opportunity,” he says.    


‘Lokame Tharavadu’, the recently-inaugurated art exhibition under the fold of Kochi Biennale Foundation and curated by its founder and artist Bose Krishnamacharya, is currently underway in Ernakulam and Alappuzha.
Around 270 Malayali contemporary artists are part of the behemoth event.  The 70-day-long exhibition plans to display around 5,000 art installations. TNIE’s Krishna P S in conversation with the artists

Covid update 
Owing to the lockdown starting Saturday, Lokame Tharavadu will be temporarily closed. As of now, the curator and the Biennale Foundation plans to resume
the show on 16 May


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