Venice Biennale Revisited – Prabhavathi Meppayil

Prabhavathi Meppayil, Untitled, 2011 - copper wire embedded in lime gesso panel, 122x183 cm

Prabhavathi Meppayil, Untitled, 2011 – copper wire embedded in lime gesso panel, 122×183 cm


The Venice Biennale provides an amazing art overload for the visitor and so I thought it would be nice to take the time to revisit the 2013 edition which i visited in September 2013. Which works left a lasting impression? Which artists were googled after coming home?

In Massimiliano Gioni’s exhibition “The Encyclopedic Palace”, the works by Prabhavathi Meppayil created for me a place of meditation, openness and concentrated concentration. Her nearly achromatic works could blend into the white wall. Seen at close range, however, the lines on her pale panels reveal their materials: copper (or gold or silver) wire embedded in heavily gessoed surfaces. The “Untitled series” brings together the artist’s exploration of the language of minimalism.

Prabhavathi Meppayil, Untitled CU3, 2011 at Venice Biennale 2013

Prabhavathi Meppayil, Untitled CU3, 2011 at Venice Biennale 2013

Meppayil works mainly with lime gesso panels. Her creative process is a kind of marking; she scratches and breaks open the surface of these panels.  “Physical involvement is vital to my work, so the ‘time’ that the work contains. The process of working is repetitive, intense and at the same time liberating, it has no beginning or end.”

Prabhavathi Meppayil was born in Bangalore, India, in 1965. And that’s where she still lives and works . Her own roots – she comes from a family of goldsmiths – can be found as traces in her artistic practice. The works – made in a goldsmith’s workshop – bare traces of the same materials and tools as the jewellery makers. Her metals are melted in the same crucibles and stretched with the same clamps. Meppayil’s works suggest that tradition remains in motion, guided equally by the history of a craft and the hands through which it passes.

She is marked in my memory as a very interesting discovery at the Venice Biennale 2013!

 

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