September 7, 2009

Architect Turned Artist?

Indra Ramanathan is both an artist trapped in an architect’s body and an architect trapped in an artist’s body. His day job places him as the man behind edgy design conscious clients such as BRDB, Sultans Lounge and KL Convention Centre… Always one to push and explore his creative boundaries, Indra's creative and personal journey takes form through paint when his first ever solo exhibition dubbed (sans) Horizon at Pace Gallery opens this Wednesday…

Whatsart caught up with him, his friend;Yeo and Yusof Majid at an… ahem… bar converted from an old barber shop called Super Lady somewhere in Kepong …his pick, but actually a lot less seedy and so offbeat that it was really kinda cool in a Quentin Tarrantino-esque way to get the down low:

How Long Have you been working on your show?

I reckon I’ve been working on it for about 20 years. I used to paint and stopped because I got busy running a commercial practice as an architect, that’s my day job which has taken me all over the world. It’s been a long time coming… But physically, with the studio space and being serious about everything, really in the last 8-9 months… I’ve basically thought about doing this for a long time… trying to transpose my thought process and architecture from 2-d into artforms all my life… I’ve been thinking about doing a body of work ever since I was studying.

Describe your thought process and creative journey for this series

I’m going to be painting for 4 years from this year; ‘9.9.9’, -9 pieces by 9th, September, 2009; 10.10.10; 10 pieces…. until 2012, and the pieces are all going to be at Pace, and really I think the defining moment, or when I will be taken seriously as an artist would be next year. ‘Cos this year it’s already sold out, it’s gonna happen just because my friends are gonna buy it.

The paintings are about all the places I’ve been, cities that my work has brought me, so this show will contain my journeys through 9 countries… I painted everything together, at the same time, people think I’m crazy, someone told me I should paint them one by one but I was like f*** that I was lining up the canvasses everywhere and painting it all at once. It was a very emotive experience.

My wife has not seen it yet... she is very worried but at the same time looking forward to it.

Yeo: I don’t think any of them would look out of place in a corporate office… He’s genius

How would you describe your style?

Abstract minimalist using layer, over layer, over layers of color that changes as I go along and I stamped it with the airport code of each city… like KUL for Kuala Lumpur. It represents the journey and whatever impressions those cities have left on me… The stories and I could tell you about the hundreds of thing that happened to me which I’ve expressed in these paintings. Emotions that I have no words for.

Yusof: Hey! Say Something about Pace Gallery in there!

What was the catalyst for you guys deciding to do it at Pace Gallery?

Indra: ... just turned forty and I pretty much have everything I want, and I don’t want to miss out on this…opportunity to explore different mediums self expression. I’ve had a blessed life, Thank the Lord … And because Pace has agreed to.

Yusof: trying to sound clever... Because I want to see an architect transfer the monumental, structural thought process documented on a canvas.

Indra: No, really. I like the fact that he moves the emerging, young artists

Have you developed a distinct style or do you intend to work towards developing one?

At this stage I would say no

Are you a collector yourself?

I have about 30 pieces… Khalil, a lot of Sabree, I have a few new UITM grad works, Wei Ling, it’s very varied.

Anyone you’re particularly drawn to?

I appreciate all art forms

See Indra Ramanathan pull off his solo exhibition this wednesday, 9th September 2009 at 9pm, Pace Gallery or watch this space...



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