Posted: December 18th, 2012
Artist Sreshta Rit Premnath’s recent work, Folding Rulers is currently on view at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis. A solo project, it is reflects his preoccupation with repeating forms of representation ‘that have been used to depict figures in power’. We ask him to take us through his installation.
Folding Rulers ‘The title of the show is also the title of a series of eight UV-printed vinyl banners in which I utilize a wooden ruler to unravel the form of the presidential portrait as it repeats and transforms itself upon the surface of a sandbox. On the floor of the gallery, seeming to confront these portraits is a series of three works titled Sandbox – pairs of used military combat boots filled and overflowing with sand. Across from the Folding Rulers series is a large fabric piece, Untitled. The surface of the piece, which resembles a flag, is covered with horizontal stripes that were made by applying bleach to black cotton.’
Concept ‘I began by thinking about the tumultuous political climate over the last few years in the Middle East – the fall of one dictator after another to be replaced by new figureheads. The word ‘ruler’ became a point of departure for me, as it connoted the head of a state, while simultaneously describing an object that is used to measure distance and is therefore the language and the law of territory.
The sandbox is another symbol rich with connotations. In their slang, the US Military refers to the Middle East as ‘the sandbox’. At the same time there is a history of the use of sandboxes as psychotherapeutic tools to help children confront and overcome trauma. In this manner I often begin by identifying a small set of materials that can create complex symbolic associations when they are read together.’
Folding Rulers, the installation is on view till 29th December, 2012 at Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis.