Sonam Chaturvedi, a recent graduate from Shiv Nadar University, joined us for the Young Graduate Summer Residency Programme in June. Her residency culminated in a open studio that was attended by artists, art enthusiasts and collectors.
We asked her some questions about her practice and her time in Mumbai:
1. What are some of the things that influence your art practice? E.g certain books/writers/music/film/artists?
There are various things I absorb and they settle down unconsciously within me, these can be an art work, a poem, or a line from a book etc. Mostly I still don’t know where they are coming from but a few which I can state here would include Albert Camus’s Myth of Sysiphus, Henri Bergson’s concept of duration, T.S. Eliot’s poem Burnt Norton, Mail art by Ray Johnson, George Carlin’s stand up comedy on time, Jan Svankmajer’s short film Food, and the news scroll on Hindi news channels which I’m unable to follow due to lack of Hindi reading habit, among others. Apart from these external references, the most influential and helpful resource for my practice is solitude, and the words written to reflect those silent moments.
2. What do you hope to achieve when people look at your work?
My work deals with aspects of human psychology at a functional level, where I try to narrow the viewer’s attention to a minute moment or thought which otherwise one ignores in daily life. In some works, I focus on the experience it generates due to its immersive atmosphere, while some works try to bring people out of their comfort zones and interact with the artwork, which sometimes can even be a disturbing experience. But there are a few works which the viewer can experience as a journey/process to just take away with them, and live with the reminiscence.
3. Did your time in Mumbai change your practice in a way? How so?
I had almost reached a stagnant point in my art practice after my Masters in 2016. This was my first residency and it gave a start to my practice, which I definitely needed at this stage. I think I became more resolved conceptually as to what line of thought my works draw on and how to follow it, while simultaneously playing and experimenting during the process. So in that way it gave a breathing space for my thoughts to shape and communicate distinctly.
4. If you could have all the resources available to you, what would be your dream project?
There are two projects which I’m longing to do whenever I can get an opportunity and resources. One is a game, for which I’ve already prepared a layout and just needs to be executed with the help of a game programmer, and money.
Another is a project with the ocean, where I want to leave messages in the ocean to communicate with strangers who will find them and respond back to me following the instructions in the message. This entails me to stay off shore for a considerable amount of time to leave many such messages. I think the second one is the most challenging, and thus excites me more.