Pushpamala N

Pushpamala N Pushpamala N is of the most influential female Indian artists. Starting out as a sculptor with an interest in narrative figuration, Pushpamala N eventually took to casting her own body as various characters and personae in the medium of photo-performance. Interested in exploring photography as a medium of narrative fiction, she drew heavily from the history and traditions of cinema for her work. Recently she has also been using experimental short films, live performances and sculptural tableaux to explore the ideas that fascinate her. In this interview she talks about the synergy between movies and photographs, takes us into the fantastical and intriguing world of her art, discusses her work and traces its roots in cinema, explains her oeuvre that stands firmly in the middle-ground between film and photography and tells us that, in India, cinema and photography both created and recorded the country's modernity.


Pushpamala N is a video, photo and installation artist, writer and curator born in Bangalore in 1956. After receiving a BA in Economics, English and Psychology from Bangalore University, she studied sculpture at M.S. University, Baroda where she did her post-graduation in 1985. Since the mid 1990s she has been mainly working in photography, performance and video. She uses women's stories and women's mate-rial as a device to explore history, memory and contemporary society. In all of her works Pushpamala N. is chief actor as well as director, and has a charismatic on-camera presence. Her work has been shown at numerous international museum exhibitions, biennials, and festivals. including the Johannesburg Biennale; ENSBA, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Saatchi Gallery, London; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; La Verreina, Barcelona; Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Bose Pacia New York; Nature Morte, New Delhi and Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai. Her work is part of several major collections such as National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Saatchi and Saatchi, London.

On Air: Pushpamala N

The ikono On Air Festival is showing Pushpamala N's film "Indrajaala / Seduction" (2012), a silent single channel or three channel B&W video. Pushpamala N Created and directed by Pushpamala N Photography: Clay Kelton Video Editing: Gautam Pandey, Riverbank Studios Delhi Cast: Pushpamala N and Raam Kumar Taking from early ethnographic and silent film, three frames simultaneously invoke the incident of the cutting of the nose of the demoness Surpanakha, by the Prince Lakshmana from the Ramayana. The video is from a body of work called Avega / The Passion composed of photographs and videos, which is about three women characters from the Indian epic, Ramayana. The Ramayana is the story of the good warrior king/ hero/ god Rama who is banished from his kingdom to the deep forest due to the machinations of his stepmother Kaikeyi, who wants her own son to be king. His wife Sita and brother Lakshmana follow him into exile. Towards the end of the fourteen years, the form- changing demoness Surpanakha, the guardian of the forest, is attracted to the two young princes and tries to seduce them by taking human form. The brothers mock her and as she plunges to attack Sita, Lakshmana punishes her by cutting off her nose and ears. The wounded Surpanakha then goes to her brother, the powerful demon king Ravana and incites him to abduct the princess Sita in revenge. This leads to a Great War where Rama kills Ravana and defeats the demon army, fulfilling his destiny as the god-king.


- Pushpamala N at gallery Nature Morte : www.naturemorte.com - Pushpamala N at Gallery Chemould: www.gallerychemould.com - Pushpamala N on Wikipedia - The Guardian (Video): Seven artists in Delhi: Pushpamala N


Interview with Pushpamala N from 2012 Gund Gallery Associate Claire Buss interviews Indian artist Pushpamala N about her work in The Ethnographic Series 2000-2004, currently on view in the Gund Gallery. Eye of the Beholder - Pushpamala N As part of this series The Big Indian Picture brings to you conversations on cinema with artists, photographers, writers, performers and journalists. The movies that have made an impact on their lives and their work. Pushpamala N Interview From the Amrita Sher-Gil National Art Week (18th to 24th February 2013) Image on top of page from Galerie Zurcher: Still from Pushpamala N. - Avega - The Passion (Abduction)

Curators' Special

Part of the curatorial selection of Frank Barthelemy