‘I am interested in the collapse of expectation’: Artist Visakh Menon

Using coloured inks and porous rice paper, Visakh Menon creates signals and sound patterns to make sense of structure and hierarchy.

Published: 08th August 2021 10:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2021 10:11 AM   |  A+A-

Visakh Menon.

Visakh Menon. (Photo | visakhmenon.com)

Visakh Menon’s newest show, Tremors, at Delhi’s Blueprint12 Gallery, explores digital artefacts. Using coloured inks and porous rice paper, he creates signals and sound patterns to make sense of structure and hierarchy as seen through the diagrammatic representation of command and control modules in electronic systems, social networks, botnets, neural circuits, genome maps and so on. More from the artist:

Give us an insight into your current exhibition.
This solo show will present works from the Tremors, Resonance and Whispers series. These were made from 2018 to 2021 on rice paper in a scroll-like vertical format, traditionally used for calligraphy or ink paintings. In these works, I explore concepts of digital signals, data visualisations of noise patterns, and non-traditional music scores through process-driven abstraction and repetitive linear mark making.

Works from Visakh Menon’s Tremors
series, showing at Blueprint12 Gallery.

What drew your interest towards exploring digital artefacts and the aesthetics of glitch, error and noise?
I am interested in the collapse of expectation — what happens when the expected process starts to malfunction, specifically within human machine interaction and digital signal processing. The term ‘Aesthetics of Failure’ [Cascone, Kim. “The Aesthetics of Failure: ‘Post-Digital’ Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music.” Computer Music Journal 24, no. 4 (2000): 12-18] plays a crucial role in how I think about my work, alongside elements of chance and randomness. 

What is your choice of medium?
I often switch between mediums and series/bodies of works; ink on paper being my personal favourite. I also work with acrylic paints on wood panels and digital video using code and software tools. The choice of mediums has always been dictated by the conceptual framework within which the work exists. 

Tell us about your references and influences.
My references include sound waves, digital signals, noise patterns, non-traditional music scores, visual music [specific to the Tremors series of works], and Enzo Zen Buddhist drawings. The process of these meditative drawings is a major influence on the Tremor works I am showing at the gallery. My influences are Agnes Martin, Nasreen Mohammedi, Lee Ufan, Jack Whitten, Vija Celmins, and William Kentridge. I have also seen so many amazing glitch/digital artists online over the years. 

What prompts an artist to choose a gallery?
It has to work both ways. The gallery and the artist need to be a good fit for each other. With BluePrint12, I was excited to work with gallerists Ridhi Bhalla, Mandira Lamba and curator Amit Jain, as they have built a strong roster of artists from south Asia with a focus on abstraction and process driven works. 

What are you working on now?
I am working on new paintings from my Interference series. I have been commissioned to create a new artwork using marble and rare stones as a room scale floor mosaic for a client in Mumbai. I also have another solo show coming up later this year.


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