Tales of darkness


Dreams or nightmares are manifestations of our day to day realities. In our dreams we are in a fictional world which is inspired from our realities and the realities we perceive. Sometimes expressing these dreams or nightmares could become a daunting task. But, no one can deny the fact that these fantasies which are taking shape in our mind, are not less fascinating and intriguing.

Elaborating on such fantasies is the travelling art exhibition titled ‘Tales of Darkness’ at Sunaparanta Goa Centre of Arts, Altinho, Panaji, which is curated by Leandre D’Souza.

The exhibition stems from Alptraum (nightmare), an initiative started by Berlin-based artist Marcus Sendlinger in 2010. As part of the project, artists are asked to provide one work related to the subject.

After the first exhibition in Berlin, the works travelled to South Africa, then to Slovenia, the United States, the United Kingdom and finally to Goa. In each place, new works by local artists are added.

In a very unusual way this exhibition reached at Sunaparanta, when Siddharth Dhanwant Shanghvi was made aware about this exhibition. It was first held at a private home in South Goa but then it was forcibly removed by its owner. The Show was then called Salon de Lirio and was curated by artist Caro Suerkemper. This exhibition thus becomes the posthumous exhibition, a sort of resuscitation to its natural condition.

“One winter evening I was swimming at the sea in Ashwem. A woman approached me on shore, to ask if I’d heard of a show of international artists, opening in south Goa, exploring the theme of nightmare. I had not heard of it and requested to speak with the curator. But when the show’s curator, the artist Caro Suerkemper rang with details, she was in a panic: barely had the exhibition opened when the landlady of the house where the show was staged had demanded for it to be brought down. No particular reason was extended (it was suspected the landlady, having found her house beautifully restored, wanted it back). Under duress the art works were pulled down. I asked Caro to show me the works. Immediately impressed by the quality of the art, I spoke with Raj and Dipti Salgaocar, founders of Sunaparanta. They were delighted to step in and extend their galleries to exhibit the very works that had been so unexpectedly evicted from their original venue. Sunaparanta, Raj reminded me, had always been a community space, created to serve the audiences whose footfalls animate its galleries, its courtyard. While it enjoys a reputation for drawing the more visible names from the art world, Sunaparanta continues to serve the serious, the small but splendid, the expelled but most excellent works, ideas, thoughts, projects related to the pursuit of beauty in all its avatars”, says Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, honorary director of Sunaparanta Goa Centre of Arts.

“The works which are exhibited here are all deviating, where nothing is fixed. There is a constant sense of openness. The artists have brought out both, external and internal fears and also fantasies. I have divided the work in three categories – irrational which deals with our fears; sinister, which depicts evil, violence, death, etc; and sensual which is all about our fantasies and dreams”, says Leandre.

With adding of new works organically at every destination, the project has grown into a nomadic collection, whose contents remain in constant flux, mirroring the deviant and unpredictable behaviour of the artists’ minds they originate from.

The result is a visual jumble opening our minds to a delirious territory, infested with haunted and grotesque presences, anxious doodles, and carnal abjections. By insinuating this sense of uncontrolled wandering into the innermost recesses of the human mind, the works lure the viewer into an eerie, threatening yet seductive imagery. This mélange lays bare an intimate realm, where one’s most secret thoughts, beliefs, fantasies, fears disclose without barriers. It is a space of resistance, where the sinister, the irrational and the sensual collide and erupt with disturbing ease.

(The preview of the exhibition, ‘Tales of Darkness’ will be held on March 27 at 7 p.m. at Sunaparanta Goa Centre of Arts, Altinho, Panaji. It is open to all. It is on till April 30.)