Deep Sleep

From those blurred and fragmentary memories we may infer much, yet prove little. We may guess that in dreams, life, matter, and vitality, as the earth knows such things, are not necessarily constant; and that time and space do not exist as our waking selves comprehend them.

Beyond the Wall of Sleep
H. P. Lovecraft

The memories from childhood - the sights, sounds and smells influence our present selves. While they do not overtly dominate our thoughts and actions, they remain a dream-like entity that reside and can be reached just beyond the wall of sleep.

In this show Deep Sleep, I delve into the unconscious and explore phantasms that have stayed with me from my early years. But instead of encountering a hulking labyrinth of the unknown, the work that has emerged from this introspection has been playful and interactive. True to the spirited nature of dress-up and other imagined childhood games, I have sought to create a shop in the middle of the gallery. The clothes in this shop are all stitched from salvaged old tyre-tubes, a photograph of me wearing one of these costumes accompanies the installation.

Like associations from childhood, memory is never permanent, through my work I choose to explore its transient qualities and the idea of erasure as a form of catharsis is a recurring theme for me. Even unwanted memories result in merely temporary darkness and can be symbolically erased when confronted. This is an idea that I have previously examined in Erase (2007, 2012) and Confession (2010), here Fog and Evaporating Memories look into the ethereal nature of memory; in the work, the viewer’s experience and their interaction with it disappears in a matter of minutes into the hazy fog of the world.

Another significant subject in my work is that of transformation: I transform discarded, found, retired, reused and readymade objects as well as my own body. I believe that transformation is important to blur identities and to occupy different subjectivities. In Blur, my portrait is incrementally obscured as the sharpness of each image changes until there is no self, no subject left in the final frame, just the hint of a face, anyone’s face looking back at the camera. Mudi (Hair in Kannada) is a video of my head being shaved. My body becomes the site for transformation, I change from a person with big beard and a large mane to a shaven head, no beard, large moustache with a small tuft of hair left on my head like a priest. The loss of hair refers to the removing of the unwanted, the excess and the attempt towards catharsis.

Srinivasa Prasad
2014

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