Khoj Studios presents 'Intimate Architectures: Materials at Play' - a show of art works exploring the relationship between material and space by Gabi Schillig (Germany) and Masooma Syed (Pakistan/India) that have been created during a month long residency at Khoj Studios.
Since the beginning of her art practice, Gabi Schillig has been working with cloth as her material, especially felt (a thick woollen cloth), to create three dimensional garment-like installations that have the ability to interact with the human body and also straddle architecture, textile design, performance and conceptual art.
“This is my first time in India and at Khoj. Since I have been trained as an architect, my work is about creating an interaction between public space, people and the material that I work in,” she says.
For her project at Khoj, Gabi has chosen to work with pieces of chanderi cloth, in various colours and sizes. Using geometrical patterns, reminiscent of her architectural training, Gabi is folding and pleating the cloth pieces in a multi-layered manner, and then stitching it into a 4 metre by 4 metre installation piece with the help of a local tailor. The work will be suspended in the courtyard of Khoj Studios in a way that will allow people to negotiate their way through the work, interact with it, hide inside it, and even use it as a garment if one so wishes.
Masooma Syed, on the other hand, is working with the concept of material that comes to her from public spaces. During her residency at Khoj, she has collected hordes of found material both from bustling market places and sometimes, even from outside temples – amulets, figurines of gods and goddesses, discarded beer bottle caps, velvet cloth, medicine tablets to name a few – which will all come together to showcase her current fascination with the concept of ‘vanity’. “I have been working with jewellery, although of a different kind - using hair, fingernails, tamarind seeds and scrap metal, for some time now.But from a mere decorative art, ornament of utility, a decoration used to embellish parts of a building, body or object; it is a strong vehicle for communication. It has embedded history of a society and its politics we live in, along with its functional wear-ability. It also makes structural references to sculpture and architecture. From this evolved the idea of ‘adornment’ that then took me to the idea of ‘vanity’. I visited several market spaces where everything and anything is available – all for the sake of satisfying one’s vanity,” she says.