September 13, 2012

Photo-essay: Mute Beauties

As far as sculptures go, for some reason, I have never been particularly interested in or inclined towards them. A large or mammoth-proportioned sculpture would probably have a greater chance of intriguing me though (particularly if it dates from historical times) but smaller sculptures do not evoke much of a reaction. However, when I chanced upon this 1910 Brancusi sculpture, Sleeping Muse, I could not help but be drawn towards it. Perhaps, it was the sublimely depicted expression of utter serenity in repose or the simultaneously warm and cool textures of the metals used in abstracting the sculpture - whatever the qualities, this sculpture is something I would definitely like to encounter in real-life.

Sleeping Muse, Constantin Brancusi (1910)

Interestingly, encountering the image of the sculpture made me suddenly recall a conceptual photography project that I had embarked upon several years ago and whose subject happened to be the wooden figurines and sculptures dotting my home. I happen to be quite fond of wood as a building material, especially when used in doors, windows, and floors - and I also like the idea of using wood when creating figures or objects. I find them much more warm and alive, so to speak, when wrought in wood, as opposed to stone, for example.

I wanted to explore the notion of these wooden figures being ostensibly mute and yet still speaking volumes through their form and shape and appearance. I chose Indonesian and Nepali wooden-face masks and a wooden figurine of a woman from Phillipines that I also use as a make-shift bangle rack. Incidentally, this figurine has especially inspired me at various levels - I have written poetry and articles about it and now, in photography, I found myself wishing to abstract a narrative from the image of her almost shackled with the weight of the wooden and metal bangles I had placed around its form. The expressions that the face-masks and the figurine display are of sleep, repose, rather, encountering peace in that state - and perhaps, that's how my mind made the associations with these images and the Sleeping Muse.

However, as it happens with many projects, while I took a lot of pictures and attempted to jigsaw them together into some kind of story, I eventually abandoned it for something else. I hadn't thought about the project for quite sometime now and almost forgotten about the images that I took for the project; however, the Sleeping Muse having jumpstarted my memory, I hunted up the images (which were aptly found in a folder called 'Misc' on my laptop) and present a semblance of a photo-essay below:

Sepia Silence

Shadowed Existence

Prisoner of Patience


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