Abhishek Poddar & Arik Levy discuss the sculptural commissions at MAP Bangalore

STIR in conversation with artist Arik Levy and MAP founder, Abhishek Poddar, about the desk and sculpture installation at Museum of Art and Photography, Bengaluru, India.

by Rahul KumarPublished on : Jan 16, 2023

Arik Levy is a truly multi-disciplinary creative professional. He is a visual artist, technician, photographer, designer, and has created video art as well! Levy studied industrial design in Switzerland and worked in the field of set design for opera. Besides his art practices, Levy is known for his furniture and light designs, and hi–tech clothing lines and accessories.

Levy recently unveiled a large-scale sculpture at the new campus of Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) in Bangalore, India. He created his iconic ‘Rock pieces’, made in Corten steel using a special process to treat the surface and the rusted look. At the launch event of the art museum, Levy had a freewheeling conversation with Abhishek Poddar, the founder and director of MAP. They reminisce the genesis of their first meeting and how that culminated in a commission for the museum.

Rock peices, Corten steel, Arik Levy | MAP Bangalore | STIRworld
Rock peices, Corten steel, Arik Levy Image: Courtesy of STIR

Levy says, “The genesis was what makes the world exist. It is relationships. We met in Paris for three and a half seconds. And look what happened.” Poddar shared the plan for the museum with Levy and invited him to create a work for it. It is not often that one gets invited to a prestigious project as this. Levy eventually made a sculpture installation for the entrance and the reception desk that responded to the piece. “It was a great task and honour and a pleasure to be in a place in the museum, which I believe is a place with more oxygen than anywhere else. When I started working on the work itself, we conversed and exchanged ideas until we found the right thing. Also, I had to work with a building and not against it, and become what integrates in a smooth way, like the reception desk,” he says. Poddar draws inspiration for this work from his own experience in creating the museum. “I was introduced to Arik through a common friend in London, and we met in Paris. His work had just blown me away. And I don’t know what it was, but something told me that the opening of the museum has to have his sculpture in the atrium. Those rocks perched one on top of the other metaphorically is how many rocks and mountains we had to move to make this museum happen, also how much we had to balance to make this come together,” he says.

Arik Levy (Artist) speaks on the subject | MAP Bangalore | STIRworld
Arik Levy speaks on the subject Image: Courtesy of STIR

Levy is interested in what he calls ‘functional art’. Many of his works are art that serves a function. The wooden structure that forms the desk at the museum is where all the exchange will happen for first-time visitors. Levy says that the artwork will be the bridge. “…people don’t really pay attention to it immediately, but then they walk back, they will wonder what it is. They will realise that it relates to the sculpture form next to it,” he adds. The sculpture takes the form of massive rocks, pilled on top of each other. It looks precariously balanced and the texture of rusted steel evokes a sense of time. The desk on other hand has cavities that mimic the rocks of the sculpture. One has the volume and the other is the negative space.

The reception desk at MAP Bangalore | MAP Bangalore | STIRworld
The reception desk at MAP Bangalore Image: Courtesy of STIR

Poddar feel that the dual sculptural art is a great combination of science and art. He adds, “What most people don’t know is he has gifted this amazing desk to MAP. It was a complicated desk to put together with the geometry of it. And you see, it’s amazing how nature does this so effortlessly, but man has to do it with so much precision. And nature does this every day all the time. It’s this amazing combination of art, science and technology coming together to make this happen.”

Rock Pieces, Sculpture unveiled at MAP Bangalore’s inauguration ceremony, Arik Levy | MAP Bangalore | STIRworld
Rock Pieces, sculpture unveiled at MAP Bangalore’s inauguration ceremony, Arik Levy Image: Courtesy of STIR
Arik Levy, artist | MAP Bangalore | STIRworld
Arik Levy, artist Image: Courtesy of STIR

Tap the cover video to watch the full conversation.

Read exclusive interviews moderated by STIR prior to and during the inaugural weekend to celebrate the opening of the Museum of Art and Photography. Prior to the opening STIR spoke with Abhishek Poddar, founder, and Kamini Sawhney, director of Museum of Art & Photography, to better understand what one can expect from the museum. Capturing the spirit of the opening, STIR interviewed various patrons including Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Sudha Murthy, Priya Paul, and Stephen Cox, while in another panel, Manuel Rabate, Maria Balshaw, and Soumitro Ghosh contemplate the role of museums.

STIR was a media partner for the launch event of the Museum of Art and Photography (MAP).

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