Through the skin of living
Marta Jakimowicz Nesa Gschwends performance Sing a Song, juxtaposing and permeating the artist's sensitive bodily presence with the visually evocative film and sound, let one grasp her simultaneously subtle and high-charged approach that focuses on the inner and the external to reveal a deeper and rudimentary connectedness of living. Her way is intuitive, emotive and tangible, allowing recognition of complexities without a need for verbalising concepts. It stems from the kind of sensibilities women are endowed with, but does not create an issue out of it, rather making the most of the potential towards a personal vision which extends onto the universal.
The performance was repeated during Nesas exhibition at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. Binding the whole was the element, or more precisely the tactile aura, of skin - the carnal and psychological surface within which the inner mingled with the outer. The numerous rows of drawings - My Indian Faces appeared to be inner portraits in which the artist attuned herself to her own sensations while absorbing what came form around her. They were not a depiction of either the artists features not anyone elses. Instead, the viewer was able to grasp the fluidity and the delicate intensity of the process along with its openness and the urge to preserve the precious received from the presence of others in the artist. The smallish drawings of the same size differed little eventually creating a rich, cogent gamut. Done in hesitant, tentatively shifting strokes of graphite, they seemed to vanish and merge with and only sporadically acquired firmness and opacity while simultaneously blending with misty smudging and with the tracing sheet paper. The material treated with wax and semi-transparent induced the effect of inner skin into which as though entered the surface and the mood of the environment. That impression persisted in the few books where over and into the muted reddish pages of sensuous parchment-like matrix, the artist inscribed indecipherable and uncountable lines of writing and markings. Waxing endowed the opaque surface with near translucence impregnated by gesture, again as though intimately recording the memory of external sensations.T
he gesture of getting to know and absorbing the outside was the topic of the video performance in which Nesa handled a bowlful of sindur powder with her hands wearing local workman's gloves, pressing it and rubbing it in as it spread over her lap like some evocation of fertility. Finally, she stitched the gloves.
The motif of skin as a porous, carnal bridge for feelings was retained in the works made of the same gloves sewn together to hold the gesture and suspended in the air. Throughout, the recurrence of multiple variants induced the sense of lifes cyclical pervasiveness surrounding the spectator and allowing for an immersive experience.