Aftermath | 2023
Prussian Blue: The Accidental Colour That Changed the Course of Art
KNMA NOIDA, September 2023
Installation with Ink, Drawings on paper and Spray Machine, tarpaulin.
Details of drawings: 60x18inches X 10, ink on Archival paper, 300 gsm
Total installation size, 27 x 20 x 8 feet
Total number of sprays during the Exhibition = 1080
(12 sprays each day, exhibition hours 10-6 pm)
12×30= 360 sprays a month
3 months x 360= 1080
Our association with the colour blue is rooted in the ink applied to paper — an elemental medium for transcribing knowledge, preserving history, and facilitating communication.
Our bonding with ink can be traced to our exploration of the distress faced by farmers in 2010. Early in our inquiry, we found ourselves moved by the handwritten ledgers used to record deaths and document firsthand accounts in villages. These reports stood as the solitary testament to the tally of lives lost.
A revelatory statistic from Oxfam disclosed a sobering truth: In India’s agrarian society, a farming fatality occurs every 40 minutes.
Harnessing this chilling statistic, we infuse ink into a pesticide container, triggering periodic sprays at 40-minute intervals. The pigment’s presence symbolises the irreparable loss, uncontrolled like the indiscriminate pesticide application, over the 10 life-size drawings on paper, which illustrate the farmers’ trials on their fields.
This blue hue of ink, shifting and evolving over time, serves as a living field, mirroring the ebb and flow of labour and life throughout the duration of the exhibition. When Blue is inverted, it becomes yellow. This contrast from of opposites serves as a visual reminder of the pressing need for change.
By utilizing the juxtaposition of these two colors and their symbolic connotations, the installation encourages contemplation about the urgency of reevaluation and transformation in our changing world.