Ideal Living

“Ah! Now the house looks complete.”

The craving for chandeliers (mostly by the nouveau-riche, for whom I used to do commissioned works through designers and other middle men), even in houses that were completely avant-garde, was the starting point. It seemed as if the chandelier was an inevitable addition to any newly built house regardless of its architecture or compatibility. Perhaps its presence assured them of some kind of confirmation to their own imagined ideas of class and status.

This craving for opulence coupled with an insatiable desire to hoard just about anything, sometimes far outweighed availability. In fact the first chandelier that I produced a few years ago was an attempt to make a work that explored the idea of discrepancy between form, material and content.

This chandelier goes one step over; larger in scale and superfluousness, excessive in its redundancy, obedient and sympathetic in its imitation (including melting wax candles). Fake pearls seemed suitable for the skin, given their ordinariness, cheapness and easy availability, abundance, as against the idea of ‘one precious pearl’. Not that this skin has anything to conceal, it rather has nothing to reveal.

But the idea of ‘Ideal Living’ seemed incomplete without other ‘must haves’, a fake potted plant, a carpet, a painting (the role of art in most [ideal?] homes), a television set (that unfailingly lives up to its reputation of endlessly playing crassly infectious soap serials) and a plush sofa set, all clad profusely with fake pearls. After all falsehood is best enjoyed in a situation of ‘fullness’, of horror vacui. *

While the entire installation revels in this ‘fullness’, the sofa betrays it. While on one hand the intention was to produce a seductive construction, on the other, it was also to reveal the construction of that seduction. But the fast growing appeal of this “industry of the “Absolute Fake”*, only seems to reiterate the fact that the continuity of its proliferation is inevitable.

* Where Good, Art, Fairy-tale and History unable to become flesh must at least become plastic.

Krishnaraj Chonat

Bangalore

“Faith in Fakes. Travels in Hyper-reality”. Umberto Eco.

The invite for the show advertised “Chonat’s Ideal Living” as a company offering unique lifestyle ideas. A similar advertisement was simultaneously placed in some newspapers and few local cable TV networks. A telephone number on the invite screamed, “Call Now”. All calls to this number were answered by a recorded message (a female voice) that said, ‘Welcome to Chonat’s Ideal Living, please wait, you are in a queue……..music………….…….welcome to Chonat’s Ideal Living, please wait, you are in a queue……………..music………welcome to ………………. It went on like this, with the pace of the music (the sound of a hammer on steel echoing in the background) getting faster every ten seconds, endlessly. The idea was to keep the callers in an ‘endless queue’ until of course they hung-up. A little over 400 calls were received during the duration of the show.

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