Having worked with over 40 odd daily use materials like paper, metal, glass, fabric, stone clay and even leather shadow puppetry from Nimmalakunta village, delhi based architect-artist Ankon Mitra exercised his skill in kirigami at Bikaner House through solo exhibition ‘A Pilgrim’s Progress’.
Engaged with the art of folding for last 15 years, Mitra was keen to present folded art, through installations and objects, as a tribute to the trifles of life in a collateral show to the recently concluded India Art Fair.
The show vividly gauged his colourful representations of dancers in motion – a study in sway and rhythm, and gentle swirls in crochet to experimental weaves with Odisha’s golden grass.
The installations include his mountain and valley folds on paper yield remarkable perfection in different textures and materials , hand-folded aluminium, powder-coated brass waves in Her Majesty which is made of metal not paper, that the black dashes and lines on the yellow refractory bricks are impressions of origami, fired in the kilns of Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh.
The Fountain of Folds is a work of hand folded aluminum sheet, cast and then extrudes it to become a working fountain, echoing American sculptor Ruth Asawa’s origami fountains, in ‘The Tectonics of Terrains and Topographies’, he draws from American artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi’s sculptural poise in shaping marble, accordion-like, in a gathering of polished stone.
Earlier he had worked with shadow puppetry artist Anjanappa and his team from Nimmalakunta village in Andhra Pradesh. On parchment goat leather, Mitra had the artisans do their drawings, which manifested into a forest of black lines, with peacocks hidden between inked foliage.
The ideas behind putting a solo exhibition was to celebrate the life after the dreadful spell of pandemic by act of doing and folding daily use materials into things of beauty.