The large room in Aspinwall House, Fort Kochi, is dark. In the middle is an installation that reminds one of a bridge and numerous bulbs with metal shades are flowing out of it like a river. Close to the main room, a few ante chambers carry allied installations of the main project. River of Ideas, the sculpture and video installation by seasoned artist Chittrovanu Mazumdar, is a feast for the eyes and the mind.
“When I first met Sudarshan (curator), we talked about the river Saraswati, which exists in Vedic texts but not in reality; that was the thread,” he begins. An Indian artist of Bengali, Indian and French descent, Mazumdar had come to Fort Kochi to choose a place to set up the work. The visitor can walk through the narrow passage in the installation and once you reach the middle, a river of ideas flow through your mind. One can interpret the artwork in many ways but the artist has taken transformation as one of the concepts. “It is a flowing river. Once it’s gone, its gone forever; you never get back the same water. The passage is dark and the bridge is narrow. The transformation occurs when the river flows from one end to the other,” he says. It asks the viewer, ‘will you take the route?’ “You need darkness to see the light. Do you want to go through the night of struggles, to discover the light?” he asks.
A lot of effort has been put into the work made over a month and a half. Mild steel, lights, music, video installation, LED, wood and textile form the installation. And, Chittrovanu is happy about the feedback. And what is left unsaid, Ancient Earth, Undated: Night skin, New Paradigms II and Towards Abstraction are a few of his previous solo exhibitions. Known for infusing different mediums, Chittrovanu started off as a painter. “In college, we all start with painting. I still do it. I was greatly interested in theatre and music and had started incorporating music into my work long ago. Computers have made it easy. Prior to that, I would go to the studio to record and it was expensive,” he smiles.
The journey had its share of struggles. “We have to keep updating ourselves,” says the alumnus of the Calcutta Government College of Art & Craft. But, hailing from a family of artists and writers, he could adapt to changes quickly. His father Nirode Mazumdar was a renowned Indian modernist painter. “As a child, I saw my father painting and my uncle was a writer. It helped me in the milieu of writing and visual arts,” he signs off.