“Creativity is never static and shall never be. My own restlessness with the state of the art world and its constant battle between detachment and attachment, between creation and recreation and between enlightenment and entertainment, has led to this series. As much as being an outer questioning of the motives of artists who repeat themselves and endorse global brands for material gain, this series is also an inner questioning on the motives of the self towards consumption, leading to destruction.
The use of my own body as the main protagonist for most of the work is a metaphor for the phrase “in their shoes”. Rather than point fingers I would like to put myself “in their shoes – or their works”, to bring out the irony that the artists pointing fingers today become the ones being pointed at tomorrow. Time for Re-Creation.”
— VS Blodsow
When an artist uses everyday utensils of the common man to highlight the urban – rural divide in India, the image is loaded. But when the artist repeats the image for the sake of commerce, it becomes like a gun – Re-Loaded. The obsession with “foreign” alcohol and its consumption in India is alarming. Over 60% of the male population consume IMFL or Indian Made Foreign Liquor. Unfortunately this is neither suitable for Indian weather nor drinking habits and is also largely spurious, leading to violent behavior patterns. According to the UN, wife-beating due to alcoholism is one of the most underreported crimes in developing countries. But we still drink a load of it!
Using a part of the dead as a work of art, and embedding it with diamonds to make millions, is surely an absurd Re-Placement of living matter. Fighting for our rights in the disguise of caste, race, colour, country, religion, etc., of our dead forefathers, and continuing to do so till we die, only Re-Places our children in the fight. But we still fight to replace our names in the property deeds of the dead.
Almost every part of food that we consume today is branded and sold to us through slick visual advertising. It’s almost as though we Re-Lease out every part of our body to multinational brands through every meal we consume. Ultimately though the body pays a heavy price to “release” the brand. But we still demand branded food from branded restaurants!
To copy the work of a street vendor, turn it into a sculpture for fame and then deny the poor street vendor the right to his profession, by copyrighting the copied work, is a Re-Play of the weird. The sad irony of today’s art world is that while real artists prefer to play out their magic on the street for pennies, the ones copying their work get to play and re-play at the most expensive, exclusive venues. But we still line up to buy the most expensive tickets at exclusive venues!
For generations, folk and tribal artists have continued to keep traditions alive while still being counted as animals with collective rights. The exploitation of tribal art for individual commercial gain is a Re-Make of the lowest order. In the guise of making them relevant for todays generation, the arts of past masters have been re-made and remixed by commercial artists. At times without relevance to the original work and sometimes without due credit to the creators. But we still dance to the remix!
By law, a ward is someone placed under the protection of a legal guardian or state. An artist gets trapped in a communal war, flees to and becomes a ward of a country of his religion. For safety, tax, God or Re-Ward? All worship is for reward. We worship God for material reward, we then worship the material reward forgetting God, which then exposes our naked desire, completing the cycle of human greed. But we still want to drive fancy cars!
Every life form – except the human being – takes only what it requires from the planet, while helping recycle the waste. Human disrespect for resource has led to the pollution and destruction of the land, water and air. Plants, animals, insects, birds and several other life forms have co-operated to the extent of domesticating themselves and even sacrifice their lives for our benefit. Without their natural Re-Cycling we would be dead anyways. But we still serve more than we can eat and still buy more than we need!
We raised a hand to support the hand that gave us freedom. When we Re-Voted them though, they showed us the finger. It is said that “The duty of the artist is to light up the darkness of the human heart”. Time to Re-Volte and straighten that finger. But we still Re-Vote candidates with criminal records!
“The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes” – The inspiration for an artist who then uses the same subject to promote alcohol. Recoil is the backward momentum of a gun when it is discharged. As activists we campaign for animal rights, while still using products that abuse animals for testing. We raise our voices for a greener planet while we continue to wipe out trees with the use of toilet paper, tissue and every other form of paper.
Today the wars being fought in the middle east are about oil because we continue to Re-Fill our cars. Tomorrow the war is going to be fought over water and we would still have to line up for the Re-Fill. Actors who have inspired the country’s youth with rousing nationalistic films then go on to endorse colas that steal the peoples water. But we still quench our thirst with colas and worship these actors!
The gas leak of 1984 left the people of Bhopal with untold horrors that still continue to affect unborn babies. While desire for power has surrounded us with innumerable devices that need to be Re-Charged everyday by the same gases. But we still want to possess even more mobile phones and laptops!
VS Blodsow is a self taught artist. He was born in Kerala in 1975.