From Ash to Ash at Kochi Biennale 2016

from ash to ash by gr iranna

The mathematical symbol “ ∞ ”, essentially formed from the union of 2-egg shaped forms, is used to represent a potential infinity. While the symbol itself has an embedded circularity of form, it denotes the formless. The egg-shaped womb, is a culmination of the form with the formless. The womb has a form; the mother in whom the womb resides also has a form; yet motherhood remains formless. The form essentially carries the formless with it, within it. Even Iranna’s choice of material, in this case holy ash or “vibhuti’, is a metaphor for the impermanence of life. While the egg is a symbol of birth and life, the ash it is composed of reminds us of the imminent death.

Birth and death, thereby, exist together, as one. We rise from the dust and we go back to ash. What remains is an infinite nothingness. This feeling of nothingness is amplified in Iranna’s work by the placement of the huge egg-shaped womb in an empty room, wherein the final effect is the creation of a positive and negative space. The co-existence of these opposite yet complementary spaces is only further symbolic of the positive energy of the life-sustaining womb, and the ash which is spiritually believed to ward off negative energies. The union of these energies and the circularity of flow between them, leads one back to infinity, except this time, a quest towards an individual infinity.

Sukanya Garg

November 13, 2016