ERA ELSEWHERE By Manjunath Kamath
Inspite of the fragility, terracotta as a medium has occurred throughout history, dating back to the earliest of human civilizations.
In the recent past terracotta has been Manjunath Kamath’s preferred medium and in the same context he says ‘I start developing a form as I would do in my drawings, keep building some parts in detail and leaving some unfinished. I oscillate from one form to another and work on them later, almost like working on a puzzle , by not just joining but by breaking as well. Carefully cutting away portions of the sculpture and breaking them open to allow a peep inside, treating the sculptures’ interiors as architectural forms. Painting on terracotta sculptures, gives birth to a new skin/layer, recreating elements of history in a new context.’
The fragmented forms presented in the sculptures are reminiscence of artifacts in a museum, where some parts are either missing or damaged further enabling the viewer to fill in the blanks and build their own narrative. These further form the premise of the artist’s drawings on silk and paper.
With the artist’s vested interest in studying iconographies and the evolution/changes of the same that take place according to time and diverse influences, enables him to create images which are an amalgamation of different cultures yet not belonging to any one in particular, and also acts as an attempt to subvert them and free them from their historical purpose.
‘Era Elsewhere’ questions the authenticity of history as what we perceive, a history what may most often be an incomplete narrative. Kamath peers into the past to not only locate missing links but also acts as a commentator treating history as fiction. This further equips him to create a fictitious, non-existing era where the artist acts as time.