The last week has seen Professor of Art Sandeep Mukherjee and a few of his students working to add the final brush strokes to his new art installation, “The Sky Remains,” a 1,000-tile floor grid and 14 modular wall panels that will be part of the Dhaka Art Summit 2016 in Dhaka, Bangladesh which runs from Feb. 5–8.
The installation, which will span the floor and two walls of the main atrium of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, is imbued with vibrant blues using acrylic paints that recall not only the sky but also the delta tributaries that weave across southern Bangladesh. “The Sky Remains” is painted to simulate handmade textile weaving, one of the main industries in the country.
Mukherjee hopes that visitors engage with the piece by walking barefoot on the randomly distributed floor tiles and by experiencing the blueness that mirrors the politics, history of weaving, and geographic identity of Bangladesh.
“People will walk on these barefoot and experience a sensation based on the texture, which is the same as the wall panels,” he says of the 1,000 tiles on the floor.
The visitors then become part of the dynamic installation, as those walking on the upper floors looking down will have a different visual experience. Mukherjee also is planning on filming the floor squares as people walk barefoot across the tiles by mounting a camera on a track close to the ground.
“The piece changes as a result of people walking on it. It’s constantly altering, becoming new things,” he says. “It’s not a fixed object.”
Sarit Snyder ’17 and Clark Hollenberg ’17 have worked with Mukherjee on the installation. Hollenberg will travel with Mukherjee to Bangladesh for the installation’s opening. Hollenberg’s travel is funded by Pomona College.
A studio art major, he spent the summer and fall working with Mukherjee on two works, including “The Sky Remains.”
“I have gained insight into what it is like to work as a professional artist in LA and learned all the components behind Sandeep's process, which is complex and original,” said Hollenberg. “Before I started working with Sandeep, I had no idea that you could paint on plastic with a six foot wide brush or spray a painting with cleaning products.”
He says, “Even more importantly, I was exposed to the thought process behind his work; we would often lean back against the studio walls and discuss how different elements in the piece were working and debate the next move.”