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Artist Statement

“When Hiroshima was destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1945, it is said, the first living thing

to emerge from the blasted landscape was a matsutake mushroom.”
—Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World

Nature has always been an inspiration for me, and I believe that this affinity has percolated
into my works. What fascinates me is the conception of the processes that characterize the
earth—its landscapes, climate, and the transition of seasons—as both animate and inanimate
beings continually transform. More specifically, I am intrigued by life processes—how living
beings grow, develop and die, their bodies returning to the earth before new life springs forth
again in a cycle of matter.
The interpretation of “nature” and its relationship with “culture” has always been a subject of
curiosity for me. As I talk about nature’s aesthetics, what really is my role in the dialogue?
How does one arrive at a definition of environmentalism with the knowledge that microbes
are feeding on plastic, or that life is possible amidst radiation? These questions inform my
current body of work, where nature and its evolving manifestations are central to the viewers’
experience. The ephemeral and transient quality of natural phenomena in my works plays a
significant role for this experience to materialize. As an approach, to nurture and “let grow”
is neglected in our cultural ethos, where the human impulse to control, dominate, and sanitize
takes precedence. I wish to witness a world where people embrace the precarity of the natural
elements and happenings that they encounter accidentally in their surroundings, without
feeling the need to tame them. These “accidental” things are mostly those that we tend to
ignore as infection, stain, fungal growth, or decay from bacterial action—all of which take
the form of decomposition, rot, cracks, etc.
My works are mostly process-based. I experiment widely in search of the right process and
materials suited to a particular work. Through my practice, I engage with durational ecology
through dialogue with the existing ecosystem, evolutionary biological processes, the
situations on site and the workings of bio-actants. My practice is thus situated at the
interdisciplinary intersection of visual art, science, agriculture, and gardening. I have been
exploring the processes of nature through a daily routine of making, growing, and
transforming. With this premise, I generated a site-specific installation titled “Nature,
Unconditioned” at the Kochi-Muziris Students’ Biennale (2018-19). In this project, I
transformed a section of a warehouse into a space for growing mushrooms and fungus. The
space was entirely dedicated to reading the architecture of the space that constantly mutated
with the free rein of nature. By the end of the intended duration, the walls were entirely
covered with different kinds of mushroom and fungi. This resulted in an experience that led
viewers to see the wide range of species around them generally, and in the warehouse
specifically, as a kind of temporal, interconnected mesh. I begin my work at the site itself,
gradually building up an engagement with the place and its people. My practice is thereby
derived from the specificities of the site, and assumes an interdisciplinary execution. It is

through these site-specific durational activities that I arrive at—not a conclusion—but a
situation, which potentially initiates a new dialogue among viewers.

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