Cityscapes

What happens when some of India’s biggest artists display their work in a tech park?

Do Indian techies really appreciate art? A business park in Bengaluru holds some answers.

In the middle of a business park, surrounded by employees enjoying a warm afternoon outside before heading back to their desks, 1,400 kilograms of stainless steel glints in the sunlight. The massive sculpture – a 21-foot bucket brimming over with kitchen vessels – is one of seven pieces that have turned the office space into an expansive open-air gallery in Bengaluru.

The steel sculpture, Dreams Overflowing, is by artist Subodh Gupta, one of six celebrated contemporary Indian artists whose work is housed at RMZ Ecoworld. Almost all the pieces in the permanent collection are displayed outdoors and are open to the public as well as employees of companies such as Sony, Infosys, Honeywell and Capgemini, to name a few.

Art enthusiasts looking to experience contemporary art in India would typically head to a museum or gallery. Gallery Skye, Gallery Sumukha, Chitrakala Parishad and National Gallery of Modern Art are a few of the well-known galleries in Bengaluru and while these traditional spaces have their benefits, an outdoor exhibition allows the artist to create bigger and bolder pieces, and is much more accessible to audiences.

Subodh Gupta’s ‘Dreams Overflowing’ recalls the image of milk frothing from a bucket, while symbolising the wastage of natural resources. Photo credit: Nikhita Venugopal
Subodh Gupta’s ‘Dreams Overflowing’ recalls the image of milk frothing from a bucket, while symbolising the wastage of natural resources. Photo credit: Nikhita Venugopal

Creative space

At RMZ Ecoworld, the sculptures are displayed in The Bay, a building with offices, an open-air deck and the business park’s main food and beverage area, with restaurants, pubs and cafes. Planning this art space began two years ago and involved each artist visiting the site and choosing a spot for their work.

“For the artist, it’s heaven to make something for a bigger space,” said Jayasri Burman, whose sculpture Dharitri is on display. “If there is no limitation on space, then artists love to create more and more.”

For Dharitri, she chose a quiet grassy alcove on the business park’s sprawling deck. The piece represents one of Burman’s favourite subjects – the mythical female embodiment of earth. And having the sculpture displayed outdoors perfectly complements the graceful figure’s connection to nature. “Through the sculpture, you see the beautiful blue sky,” said Burman.

Though the Delhi-based artist said she does not usually consider where the sculpture will be placed while creating it, she typically uses bronze so her work can be kept both indoors and outdoors. But if Burman has one regret, she said it is that she did not have enough time to craft an even larger sculpture for the space – “It’s more fun and more encouraging to get a big space like that.”

Jayasri Burman’s ‘Dharitri’ depicts one of her favourite subjects – the mythical female embodiment of earth and nature. Photo credit: Nikhita Venugopal
Jayasri Burman’s ‘Dharitri’ depicts one of her favourite subjects – the mythical female embodiment of earth and nature. Photo credit: Nikhita Venugopal

Anu Menda, the managing trustee of RMZ Foundation said that over the next few years, they plan to add roughly 20 more sculptures as well as expand the collection to Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai. The foundation is an initiative of RMZ Corp, one of India’s leading commercial real estate developers. Although the artists showcased at Ecoworld have gained both international success and recognition, their work needs a platform for greater exposure in India, Menda said. By creating a public gallery, the foundation offers both employees and visitors a chance to experience and enjoy the presence of good art. “The idea was to make [art] accessible and open for all,” she said.

The 22-acre RMZ Ecoworld in Bellandur has more than 23,000 employees. On a recent Friday afternoon, the food court was teeming with people grabbing lunch, strolling outside and stopping to take photographs in front of the artwork.

Priyanka Singh, who has been working in the business park for over six months, was sitting with her co-worker Nirmala Prasad near Gupta’s Dreams Overflowing when she saw yet another person posing in front of the sculpture to take a picture. “It’s a good selfie point,” she said.

Dhruva Mistry’s kinetic sculpture ‘Spatial Diagram’ spins on an axis to create a different image and perspective from various angles of the vermillion and crimson figures. Photo credit: Nikhita Venugopal
Dhruva Mistry’s kinetic sculpture ‘Spatial Diagram’ spins on an axis to create a different image and perspective from various angles of the vermillion and crimson figures. Photo credit: Nikhita Venugopal

Singh and Prasad don’t usually take an interest in art, but they’ve made the time to learn about the sculptures through informational signs beside each piece.

When Singh first saw Dhruva Mistry’s Spatial Diagram, a crimson and vermillion movable sculpture with outlines of the male and female form, she saw the figure as a woman balancing her work and personal life. Though she said the artist’s description ultimately did not match her perspective, it didn’t stop her from having her own interpretation.

“You do feel encouraged to know more about it,” she said.

Inspired by the cave drawings of ancient India, Paresh Maity ‘The Force’ seeks to depict the power and grace of the bull through simplicity and minimalism. Photo credit: Nikhita Venugopal
Inspired by the cave drawings of ancient India, Paresh Maity ‘The Force’ seeks to depict the power and grace of the bull through simplicity and minimalism. Photo credit: Nikhita Venugopal

Bigger and better

Since July, artworks have become an intrinsic part of the business park’s landscape. Along with Dharitri, Dreams Overflowing and Spatial Diagram on the outdoor deck is Arunkumar HG’s The Link. Walking into the building, you come face-to-face with G Ravinder Reddy’s Devi, a sculpture of a woman’s head that represents his most iconic work. Gupta has a second sculpture at the entrance titled Thosa Pani, a wave-like figure made with stainless steel vessels that appears frozen in time over a still pool of water.

“The exposure is huge,” said Paresh Maity, whose sculpture The Force is exhibited in the centre of the food court. A traditional art gallery show may see roughly 5,000 visitors, “but in public art, maybe 50,000 people will view [the art] every day”.

Maity’s sculpture of a bull was inspired by the cave paintings of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. He sought to depict the grace and power of the animal through the simplicity of those ancient drawings. The artist also wanted the animal figure to be placed within nature and surrounded by greenery.

“That was the most suitable place in that whole beautiful area,” he said. “I felt that the sculpture would not get lost. It would hold that area.”

Ravinder Reddy’s head sculptures have become some of his most iconic pieces. ‘Devi’, with her unwavering gaze, protruding lips and golden skin, is a quintessential example of his work.
Ravinder Reddy’s head sculptures have become some of his most iconic pieces. ‘Devi’, with her unwavering gaze, protruding lips and golden skin, is a quintessential example of his work.

But an outdoor gallery comes with its own challenges because of the impact of weather on the pieces. Reddy, whose work was also featured in a retrospective at RMZ Ecoworld’s gallery, chose to have his sculpture placed in the glassy foyer of the building, so it could be protected from natural elements.

Harini Bakshi, who works in the business park, doesn’t get a chance to visit galleries in the city, “thanks to Bangalore traffic”. But she appreciated the effort that had gone into bringing the art to them. “I’m sure that hard work must have gone behind this. This will trigger the interest of the viewers.”

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.

Play

So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.