Locus of Being
Astha Butail

“The main focus of this show is to locate within yourself that point which makes you get into action or inaction, to reveal your own knot of action.” Astha Butail

GALLERYSKE, Bangalore is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Astha Butail. ‘Locus of Being’, is a meditation on our shared desire to understand the relationship of earth and non-earth notions, real or imaginary, mundane and extraordinary, objects that surround us to that which is invisible yet occupies a huge space of existence.

The show features drawing, assemblage, interactive installation, sculpture and performance. Translating her long-term research on Vedic scriptures, Butail draws on its philosophies to understand the relationship between perceivable material reality and non-material or intangible principles of nature.

At the heart of the show is ‘Immobile Mobile,’ an interactive installation of sixty empty frames with circular heads where the artist initiates the idea of play with the viewer. As the discs descend at varying speeds and times, they create a ticking sound, reminiscent of a metronome, of repetition and rhythm. Butail’s interest further extends to concepts of akasha and its characteristic shabda. It also queries the dynamic between static and moving elements, purusha and prakriti.

In the work, ‘The sun will rise’ modelled on the havan kund, delicate white lines constructed with paper fill thirty frames. Each frame represents a day and each line a minute. Forming an almost straight line, it appears to move or shift rendering the tick tock rhythm and the narrative cycle that define a month.

Butail’s interest in the evolution of the frame and the oral tradition extends to a new series of threaded work. Butail uses the mechanics of musical instruments like the flute, drum and harmonium to speak of functional redundancy. These works cannot be played as instruments as the lack of tension and aural ‘vacuum’ rendered by the work is analogous to a lost dialogue. Highlighting gaps in communication, they reference cultural loss, unheard or missed points of crossover in everyday relationships.

In ‘Sans performance: vow of silence’ the artist will be present adjacent to a mirror piece that continues her meditation on the geometry of the book. Having taken an oath of silence, Butail aims to refrain from expression in sound, instead answering questions put to her through written text using a glass pencil. Negating utterance, a significant aspect of the oral tradition, the artist undertakes an exercise in observing the mind and internalizing the experience of making work. The reflective mirror glass in turn, points to the locus of construction – the self.

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