Unseen Art – A STIR original series on works of art that have never been shown

The specially curated series by STIR takes a peep into artist studios to explore a work that has been created but never placed before an audience.

by Rahul Kumar Published on : Oct 05, 2020

It would be impossible to write a few words to describe the thought process of a creative professional. Reasons being: it is neither a simplistic or procedural flow, and nor is it anything even remotely standardised. However, the one thing that is almost always true is that artistic practices involve exploration and experimentation. By definition, creativity implies something imagined, something that never existed. And so, walking the beaten path is no fun!

An artist’s studio is its sanctuary. Some doodle and others research. But as a practicing artist myself, I can say that the process of experimentation is always the best part of what I do. I work in clay, and there is not a single firing that does not have tests. I end up employing process and material such that I can never predict the result. But once I have ‘figured’ it, it is rather mechanical to ‘produce’.

As creative practitioners, there are always works that are created but never taken out of the studio. The reasons could range from the work being purely experimental, not fully resolved, or something too close to the creator to allow a public view, or simply not getting the right opportunity to present it. There is a lot to be discovered about the practice by engaging with such work.

I curated this series to dive deep into an unseen work of select international artists. Artists from varied disciplines and geographies shared one such work and respond to investigative questions to bring out, hopefully, a whole new aspect of their concerns and approach.

1. Dhruvi Acharya discusses her mixed media installation that would have been

Artist Dhruvi Acharya | Dhruvi Acharya's art unseen | STIRworld
Artist Dhruvi Acharya Image: Dhruvi Acharya/ STIR

An artist who works primarily with paint and canvas as her medium, Dhruvi Acharya takes us into a world of installation and projection-based art. The immersive experience draws from her experience of grief, building on a previous work, titled What Once Was, Still Is But Isn't, which she showed at Chemould Prescott Road gallery in Mumbai in the year 2016. The soft sculpture installation resembled furniture, creating a bedroom space using unbleached cotton fabric, which was hand stitched, stuffed and suspended from the ceiling. Recently, Acharya conceptualised a layer atop this installation, one which used video projection and sound to immerse the viewer into a surreal space. However, due to logistical constraints, this dream never came to life. The artist tells us about the process of creating the work and her hopes for it in the future.

2. Ceramist Dipalee Daroz shares her doodles in clay

Ceramic artist Dipalee Daroz | STIRworld
Ceramic artist Dipalee Daroz Image: Minati Baro/ STIR

At one level a practice in ceramics requires far greater commitment than its distant cousin, painting. But then again, there is so much that is left in the hands of providence, that fair bit cannot fully be controlled. And therefore, from a process standpoint, a ceramist is perpetually on a journey of experimentation, trial and error. And for most parts, not a lot can be replicated. A clay studio looks like both, a chemist’s laboratory and Alice’s wonderland, with Innumerable test pieces and rejects. STIR speaks with Dipalee Daroz on her doodles with the medium that was made several years back and has since remained within the confines of her studio. 

3. Unseen Art: Entang Wiharso plays with a new material in an unrevealed work - glitter

A portrait of the artist | Entang Wiharso | STIRworld
A portrait of the artist Image: Christine Cocca/ STIR

While we are quite used to seeing canvas mounted on a wall, Wiharso invites us to view it from an entirely new perspective. Using an unexpected material, the artist chose to work on a large roll of canvas covered in glue and colourful glitter. The Indonesia-born artist, who currently lives in the USA, uses this playful material to invite the viewer to engage in conversation around slavery and racism in the West. Building on his research as a Guggenheim Fellow, Wiharso places the canvas on the floor creating a space within which viewers are encouraged to explore different points of view, both literally and conceptually. While he hopes to display the 20-meter-long artwork somewhere soon, the challenge lies in finding a space large enough to accommodate it.

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