Delhi, Calcutta, Rajasthan

in : « One Year of Indo-French Creation, 2004-2005 », Artists-in-Residence, French Embassy in India

Two titles set the tone : Hunting on Foreign Ground, an exhibition held in Delhi, and The Home is the World, a book which will be published shortly, conceived and written during his residence in India in 2004. Stephan Weitzel is a multi-faceted artist born in Germany but settled in France since 1989. Through these two entities he has speculated on the meaning of geographical and cultural journeys. « Let us be honest : a meaningful journey is a quest to discover the self more than the other. However, what the other does is reveal us to ourselves. We may then confront this or move to a new destination with new impressions, new encounters, new expectations… ». The mural installation in situ Today, I had a dream, which combines hundred of coloured paper kites and an original text, is the thematic expression for the elsewhere and the joy of being able to discover it under one’s nose, among one’s own. In a cloth sculpture in the form of a pair of double curtains, India’s got it all, the artist gathers and juxtaposes signs that are part of the Indian visual vocabulary to speak of the two totalitarian dogmas of the 20th century and test our reactivity to these icon-signs. On cloth printed according to drawings prepared in advance, the ‘trishul’ and the ‘khadaka’, attributes of the mother goddess, and the six-pointed star (two inverted triangles symbolizing the masculine and the feminine) take the place of the hammer and sickle and five-pointed- star of the communists ; swastikas repeated and decorated with four bindis each, are reminiscent of the inverted Nazi swastika. In another sculpture wherein the cloth was made to order, redesigned ‘lingas’ feature on kitchen gloves and tubes hung on strings, like puppets held by an invisible hand. He’s so lovely, She’s so lovely takes a funny, acerbic look at gender relations, both in India and elsewhere. The drawing which lent its name to this exhibition showcases six heads of gods and goddesses of the Shivaite pantheon, designed as cloth sculptures mounted on tree trunks, and displayed like western trophies of hunted game. The film Durgart, made by Stephan Weitzel at the time of Durga Puja 2004 in Calcutta, explores the artistic traditions and the creative structures of faith of artisan-artsists who work to venerate the mother-goddess.

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