Beyond the ‘Flesh’
10 Dec 2014 10:50pm IST
Patricia Ann Alvares
Patricia Ann Alvares
Graphic designer Gopika Chowfla reconstructs the body through a a multi-media installation in a dedicated room at Sunaparanta at the ongoing Sensorium festival. Explorative in nature, the installation, aptly named ‘Flesh’, seeks to interact with the viewerWhat started as a personal outpouring has slowly evolved into a more metaphorical dialogue on man’s pursuit of the flesh – in terms of the materialistic and the physical. But the essence of Gopika Chowfla’s installation by the same name at the ongoing Sensorium festival is right in line with the explorative work she has been pursuing alongside her graphic design practice. It’s a pursuit that has evolved from her professional background itself. As a graphic designer in advertising which she began in 1997, her constant challenge was to bridge the gap between the buyer and the purchaser and as a visual communications professional she learnt to engage the viewer. This in turn led her to explore several mediums – transitioning between graphics, sound and voice, spatial design and the digital world. Putting together her creative energies right from ideation to designing, she has been creating engaging works in mix media with a socio-cultural message.
“For the last 15 years I have been working as a graphic designer at my Delhi Studio, but I was always keen on doing something more exploratory that was out of the realm of the commercial,” explains Gopika who has shifted home to Goa but continues to work through her Delhi office. Over the years, Gopika has been experimenting with installations using different material, like the well received stainless steel three-piece kinetic sculpture at Ashtanayika. “A lot of my work is conceptual. It evolves more from the idea of interacting with the viewer. Their response is important. So a lot of my work uses technique or technology to engage the viewers. Most of my work is sensory. It awakens the humour or wit to feel things,” avers Gopika, who has helped put together the graphic design for the entire festival.
A site specific installation, ‘Flesh’ has been a work in progress. “I have titled the installation ‘Flesh’ to allude to the material aspect of our being. I want people to experience the whole concept as they walk in,” explains Gopika. “It’s immersive and it flows from a personal story but then moves to a different aspect. The whole space is the art. It is a nice scale to exhibit and to explore the senses,” she adds. Leaving the viewer to draw their own reactions and responses, she demands one nevertheless. “It is very private. You have a private engagement with what’s in the room. Each one’s reactions will be different.” But the message of the ‘corporeal’ and man’s obsession with it on the physical and material level is abundantly clear as one steps into the soft subdued womb alluded to as ‘Flesh’.
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