Anthropomorphism means to personify inanimate objects or forms.
Goblet drama : Who did it ?
Anthropomorphic and Zoomorphic (animal features) forms have existed in clay as vessels, small modeled figurines, et al, since ancient times and across continents and cultures. In certain cultures they have taken on magical and spiritual meanings, like in depiction of deities: the Indian deity Ganesha, a boy with an elephant head, the Sphinx of Egypt, amongst others. Additionally, the world over, museums hold fantastical collections of anthropomorphic pottery.
Looking at examples and images of ancient pottery, we find symbolic anthropomorphic and Zoomorphic combinations, shown below: frog water urn ( frog is an amphibian ) used to serve water to pregnant women as its also a symbol for fertility.
The Egyptian funerary jars are four in number, each for the safekeeping of particular human organs: the stomach, intestines, lungs, and liver, all of which, it was believed, would be needed in the afterlife. These have a baboon head, a falcon head, a jackal head and a human head each to protect a particular organ of the human body.
I am not certain of the symbolism here in this particular example , but we do know that the ancients use the raw power of animals like the ferociousness of lions agility of deer etc. and fused them with human figures as deities to as if transfer this power.
Short Pitcher with his Tall no good friends.
Moving on to ceramics interestingly, the terminology used by potters references human anatomy — the shoulder, lip or rim, foot, body of the pot, handles probably comes from the hand and these very objects with a mouth, lip, body are made are meant for sustenance since they serve food and water to us, and clay, which is earth, is what we all go back to once our lives are over. This makes the connection broken ceramics in form of shards or pottery and human skeletons which come up during excavations very poignant .
“Series Anthropomorphic” work plays with the tension of the intrinsic functionality of ceramics, and that of idea of objet d’art and teases the viewer to see these objects as functional tableware, while in reality, they might be something much more fantastical .
This current work takes the primitive idea of anthropomorphism and gives it a contemporary twist. The strong narrative content of the work comes out in a singular yet slightly twisted tone. Each jug or cup harbour a wealth of information in them , replete with lines drawings and imagery in the crazed wonderland of pots and pans.
We see Tableware that comes to life as each cup, jug, or bowl with their various physical have their own unique personality, Jugs are holding curious black briefcases predicting a deal or an exchange of some sort, a tall bottle is a plump woman in a red saree, some cups are obviously pulling faces at the viewers, with their tongues hanging out, bowls have legs attached and seem to be marching purposefully, two tea cups seem plotting against a gently perspiring bowl.
While making these , I am not necessarily pre-controlling the details of each one, once out of the furnace as one starts placing them next to each other , the rowdy jug next to the cups, text blurbs created previously need to find characters so they can be read . So you see these new meanings and connections emerge as the objects play off each other. This element of surprise stays for me as well the maker .
The deeper I descend in these characters the more difficult it becomes to sum them up , no no its not merely a stoneware cup, fired to cone 7, he is Mandrake the magician with casper the ghosts cousin or that one on the side she could be a character out of Futurerama, or the one with big eyes and deep blue body he resembles Shani Maharaj of the streets in Delhi .
A disproportionate world of strange characters , these are housed in boldly colored structures, matching the ceramic glaze colors, copper green, vanadium yellow and cobalt blue–black, these dramatis personae are very much at home in this theatrical setting, which can also be understood as a sort of 3-dimensional comic book complete with text blurbs , small architectural sculptures are part of this story as we see staircases running up and down and the stage is set.
Interesting, almost all the works are looking sideways and never at you, excluding you, the viewer, from their world. You don’t belong, this is our world, our theatre – but you can come watch us play.
Daku Potato dance in the Antimony House