May 10 – June 24, 2017

sepiaEYE is pleased to present Terraoptics, a pioneering conceptual multi-media exhibition by one of India’s most prolific artists, Vivan Sundaram, that pairs two important bodies of work. Terraoptics includes installation-based video and photography that reference Sundaram’s ground-breaking work Black Gold (2012), a large-scale installation that debuted in the 2012 Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Sundaram is considered one of the few conceptualist artists of his generation in India, having gravitated from his accomplished practice as a painter in the early 1990s towards working with assemblage, photography, video, and installation.

Sundaram explains: “the material genesis of Terraoptics is the large site-specific installation made up of discarded potshards from Pattanam, Kerala. The potshards were from archaeological remains attributed to the ruins of the disappeared port-town of Muziris (100 B.C.-100 A.D.) The (50’ x15’) installation consisted of a hundred thousand terracotta pieces. The terrain of a denuded landscape, an urban ruin, was then flooded with black peppercorns and performatively shot.” The video, Black Gold (2012), was a three-channel floor projection shown separately.

“For Terraoptics the same potshards now become a series of miniature sets. Placed in trays and shot with a still camera positioned above, the terracotta assemblage becomes a relief, a flat-bed, picture-plane-it is also a riverine landscape with pre-historic formations and emblazoned habitation.” Sundaram continues: “The model in the darkroom is laid with light-wires into luminous planes, intricate patterns. One-millimeter-wide fiber-topics crisscross the terracotta forms. Optimal geometry, linear velocity, ‘light as speed’. The earth-body is made incandescent: it produces a terrestrial-optical consciousness. Artists play with temporal transpositions, seeking counterequilibrium for human (un)settlement.”

Sundaram brings together Black Gold’s powerful and poetic floor projection with a selection of the Terraoptics installation-based photograph series, first shown at a collateral exhibition to the 2016 Kochi Biennale. One of our curatorial goals at sepiaEYE is to retain and even enhance the individual power of Black Gold (2012) and Terraoptics (2016) by integrating them thoughtfully through a side-by-side and site-specific approach.


Exhibition dates: May 10 – June 24, 2017

Opening Reception: Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 6–8pm

Press Release (PDF)

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