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When the physical world is in disarray, virtual becomes my alternative space: Shovin Bhattacharjee

By Sukant Deepak
New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) Created from the thought of humans beings an extension of nature, the idea of us, who we are as a connecting factor between the natural and man-made world, and how we are able to strike a balance between the two is what went behind the conception of 'Between Body and Imagination, Shovin Bhattacharjee's Inner Quest,' an exhibition of sculptures, physical and digital installations inaugurated recently at Dhoomimal's renovated and expanded gallery space in the capital.

Curated by the artist himself, the exhibition covers the works done over the period of the last four years and is an amalgamation of his thematic concerns.

A BFA and MFA holder from Assam University, Bhattacharjee who works across mediums with sculptures in stainless steel, wood and aluminum, primarily trained as a painter. This solo show features his sculptures, physical and digital installations.

This Assam-born and Delhi-based artist asserts, "Being a multidisciplinary artist, I have no favourite medium. I am able to utilize one more than the other which gives me respect and admiration for each medium I work with."

One of the pioneers of digital art in the country and among the first Indians to list his work as an NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens), he tells IANS that there have been numerous challenges in this realm. "The biggest one is the idea that digital art is often not seen as a serious medium in the art space, something that pushes me further. Digital art is important for me as being born in this era, the artworks I create always reflect my surroundings and documented time. I want to utilise what is currently available as a new medium to work on."

Although the show was scheduled to be held earlier, it had to be postponed owing to the Pandemic. Now, despite the new variant crating havoc, he continues to remain optimistic. "Let us not forget that survival is our natural instinct, as humans we have and always will have the ability to look at things with a positive lens."

For him, the previous lockdowns were an opportunity to introspect and look at it from a point of creating something new. "I never felt suffocated and had a very optimistic view of the future. Through this came 'Body and Imagination'," he says.

For someone practicing in the physical and virtual world, the shift to the hybrid model which most galleries have adopted did not come as a shock. "If the real world is in disarray the virtual world becomes my alternative space. So, a hybrid model works well. We cannot deny that we are in a digital era which must be utilised. Physical shows and virtual shows are equally important. Both come with challenges, but also opportunities."

Ask him if he finds it amusing when people try to look for his self-portraits in his work, and he replies, "Yes, seeing the curiosity from them is something that makes me glad. Sometimes, when I don't put my image in a work of art, I get questioned about where I am. I mostly reply - 'In your heart'."