Image: From ‘An Invisible Flower’ by Yoko Ono, 1952

Image: From ‘An Invisible Flower’ by Yoko Ono, 1952

Elementary forms and the city: ‘Lines that draw themselves out’ 
Conceptualised by Sarover Zaidi

April 27, 2017 | 5: 30 pm
C-13 Greater Kailash 1

Paul Klee once described a drawing as ‘a line going out for a stroll'. Contesting linearity or the geometric presence of a line, here Klee’s insistence was on conjuring an un-straight line or a stroll, a path that ebbs itself through a forest, through familiarity, or the obscure, through friends or strangers. Not having a plan, being investigative, lies in the middle of modernism's play, and a break from the determinate universe of representations and instrumentality. Entitled ‘Lines that draw themselves out’, the current session is one such insurgent mode of being, coming up against hegemonies presented as determinate paper, determinate roads or just the density and scale of terrain. Marking itself through routes, paths, (of forests & cities), and through scribbles, drawings these lines function with contingencies of self-creation, refraction, abandonment, disavowal and play. 

Professor Savyasaachi, a social anthropologist, went to Bastar, Chhattisgarh in the eighties to learn a language. In the process, he learnt routes, not only of communication, but also of forests. Since then he has been wandering through city spaces, classrooms, scriptures, stories, the Golden Temple, and parts of Delhi, to formulate a route. He will speak on lines/routes that have drawn themselves out in these varied locations. 

Gagan Singh learnt to navigate a telecom lines business from a young age. In his arts practice though, the route was not so straight or given. Working with line drawings, sketches, fading figures, scribbles he navigates the contemporary art space through interventions that challenges not just formality, drawing boards and canvases, but also Godzilla scalar visions of artistry, as sometimes propelled by Biennales. Working against the erasure of simple drawing as a work of art, he presents literality, play, satire, cynicism and even laughter in his sketches. From drawing on walls to paper, his images, quickly scribbled, sensibly thought, and easily invisible to the machinery of scale in art, present to us a new mode of thinking on drawing, and are ‘lines that draw themselves out’. 

This discussion, conceptualised by Sarover Zaidi, is part of a series of conversations, involving thinking about elementary forms and their relationship to the making of a city. Lines, squares, circles, triangles and arches emerge in material and ontological modes across the city. Presenting these through a series of conversations between artists, masons, anthropologists, doctors, carpenters, architects, potters, lawyers and philosophers we aim to saturate these elementary forms and their relationship to the city. As taxonomies of building, dwelling, and making, they provide us as modes of reading cities, as structures, materials and everyday lives.

About C 13

The event was a part of the programming of C 13, an exhibition which is a collaboration between FICA and artist Priyanka Choudhary. Between 2010-17, Priyanka used C 13 as a studio space and has now extended an invitation to other practitioners to rethink the possibilities of a studio space. The FICA Reading Room was also housed in the building for the period of three weeks. We invited Susanta Mandal to respond to this project of inhabiting C 13 - a home, a studio, an abandoned site that is being interpreted and experienced differently by each of the exhibiting artists and to come up with a structure for the Reading Room. He designed a self-contained unit, a mobile structure with all the architectural elements of a building. FICA Reading Room is a space for discussions and over the next three weeks we will hold many informal conversations in this room. 

Listen to Prof. Savyasatchi 's talk at the event.