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anjali srinivasan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever since the Gujarat earthquake in 2000 displaced, and effectively disbanded, the nomadic community whose forefathers crafted palaces of mirrors in Rajasthan and Gujarat, I have rued the loss of the Sheesh Mahal in my country. My experiments have focused on ways to make the obsolete tradition relevant to the here and now.

In 2010, I walked into a vessel store in Chennai, and I felt my disappointment of the demise of the Sheesh Mahal vanish. Every square inch of the store – gridded ceiling included - was used to suspend a shiny, curved object of stainless steel. Not in the intricate, painstaking patterns of the extinct monuments but as a massive, nebulous cloud of product and reflection whose density and form was based entirely on item stock, market demand, product design, and container size. I had encountered a palace of mirrors where each unit - a vessel - could be relocated, replaced and functional.... For me, the vessel store assumed a new-age identity of the Sheesh Mahal.

Of Clocks and Clouds is a demonstration of precisely this. I subject the optical realities of a single, basic form in reflective glass, in this case a tetrahedron, to the phenomenology of the Sheesh Mahal, old and new.

I do to the surfaces of metallic vessels exactly what they do to the surfaces of the modern-day Indian vessel store, creating complex reflective arrangements that while constructed like clocks, propagate like clouds. The cloud, it would seem to me, is not too far away from the clock.