This week, we welcome artist Kuldeep Singh. Singh’s art practice is profoundly intensified through his decade-long and rigorous training in the Indian classical dance form of Odissi, its rich methodology of storytelling, gestures and myriad movement history, literature, along with an in-depth understanding of the human body. Its usage of Indian classical music and percussion additionally imparts a harvest of working knowledge of countless bygone generations.
All this provides Singh a thorough material and ground for deconstruction of components in immersive movement, while expanding the traditional sound design enmeshed with camp sound, engaging body politics layered with social anthropology. Into this he brings content from medieval Sanskrit literature (like the 2nd century AD Sanskrit dramaturgical tome – Nātyashāstra) and re-invented myths, incorporating to contemporary human situations. Pathos, confusion and wonder become the key emotive tones in my work, often leading to a hypnotic world charged with an undertone of sensuality and primitivism.
The Neo [queer] Rāgamāla paintings are a part of an ecosystem that integrates the emic approach to the study of South Asian music and visual art, along with immersive performance components – in finding inventive ways of representing queer male body, its limbs and parts to plural ecological elements. It aims at blurring the border between body, nature and eventually the spiritual itself. Thus questioning nature of the body, its genesis and defects, as well as systems of knowledge. The works bank on the historic rāgamāla paintings of courtly tradition of Central India (16th to 18th century CE, with their characteristic anthropomorphic representation of musical melodies along with abundant portrayal of nature) as an entry point. These new paintings eventually embody a contemporary interpretation of the concept, through a quasi-scientific trajectory with a social anthropologist’s quest.