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Speaking camera

Surekha's best works are marked by a simplicity in style and rendering



The artist has explored a less popular medium of video art to reveal her aesthetic sensibility.

GALLERYSKE RECENTLY organised the screening of video works by Bangalore-based artist, Surekha. It was interesting to see the young artist exploring a less popular medium of video art to reveal her aesthetic sensibility.

Threading the Threads (2003/ 13 minutes, 24 seconds) was probably the most impressive piece on show. Adopting a simple and direct approach, it portrayed a group of craftswomen involved in the process of quilt making.

Although made in a typical documentary style, it was interesting to see the way the film interwove layers of the protagonists' personal lives.

Common threads

The women reveal a heartening spirit of camaraderie and the common thread running through their lives with their plain talk.

For instance, if one of the women narrates how her husband is a drunkard, another goes on to describe the mishaps on the first night of marriage! And while all this mischievous talk, mutual leg pulling and backslapping continued, their needles never stop piercing the cloth. And in a couple of hours, the quilt would be ready to provide them their daily bread.

Juhannus Midsummer (2001/ 7.17 minutes), a collaborative effort between three artists — one each from Poland and Brazil, besides Surekha — explores their experiences of nudity and the prejudice attached to it. The film, which uses the private space of a community bathroom as the stage for their physical and emotional outpourings, is engaging in its honest attempt to investigate a rather challenging theme.

Other films

Other films included Bhagirathi — Bringing Water (2004 / 3 minutes, 24 seconds) based on a Kannada folk story in which a girl is sacrificed so that the village lake fills up, Reaching Myself (2003/ 4.45 minutes), where the artist renders herself to the flow and fury of sea waves, Line of Control (2003/ 2 minutes, 52 seconds) which creates a frame within a frame to portray, compare and contrast the situations of an ant and a woman (Surekha herself) placed within imaginary boundaries, Long Long Way (2003/ 2 minutes, 41 seconds) where the movement of a palm on the surface of a building is caught by a mobile camera and One to One (2004 / 14 minutes, 21 seconds), a video installation where six women share their experiences.

The best of Surekha's works depended less on illusory or metaphorical themes, and were marked by a simplicity in style and rendering. It was only when she attempted to convey something very profound, or concentrated excessively on style rather than on content that she appeared to lose control and even appeared to mess up the whole communiqué.

But one has to appreciate Surekha's experimental spirit and an unwavering interest in video art.

ATHREYA

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