COLLABORATIVE ARTISTS JITEN THUKRAL AND SUMIR TAGRA ADDRESS CURRENT ISSUES IN URBAN INDIA THROUGH A WIDE VARIETY OF STYLISTIC DEVICES AND MEDIA. DRAWING FROM POP CULTURE, HISTORY AND STREET LIFE, THUKRAL AND TAGRA MELD THEIR RESPECTIVE BACKGROUNDS IN ART HISTORY AND GRAPHIC DESIGN TO CREATE A BODY OF WORK WHICH INCORPORATES PAINTING, VIDEO, SCULPTURE, INSTALLATION AND MUSICAL ELEMENTS. JITEN THUKRAL RECEIVED HIS MASTER OF FINE ARTS FROM THE DELHI COLLEGE OF ART IN 2000 WHILE HIS COLLEAGUE SUMIR TAGRA, COMPLETED HIS POST GRADUATE STUDIES AT THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF DESIGN, AHMEDABAD IN 2001.
INTERVIEW WITH THUKRAL & TAGRA
Q. As Indian artists your works in the form of sculptures, paintings and installations are aesthetically very 'un-Indian' and distinct. Could you tell us about your journey as artists and the influences along the way?
T & T: This 'un-Indian' aesthetic has come naturally to us as when we look around everything is inspired, influenced and pursued with 'un-Indian aesthetics' as you say. We were trained as communication designers, our education being a mix of art and design principles. Observing and creating have become a part of our routine. "Everyday life" influences us. It's more the observations which instigate our process, beliefs and manifestations.
Q. How did Thukral & Tagra come about as a team? What are the dynamics between you while creating a work or conceiving a project?
T & T: We have been working for 9 years together. It's a very straight-forward process, no rocket science and without confusion. The ideas and thoughts come together, they are refined, and soon they are conceived and processed. It's a play of thoughts, facts, values and aesthetics.
Q.At first glance, your works (and their titles) can seem playful and humorous yet the subject matter is often quite serious, dealing with a variety of issues such as consumerism, identity and culture. What were your thoughts while making this work?
T & T: The works are playful as they reflect our selves. We love making things in unusual forms. Aesthetics and semiotics are carefully juxtaposed, and they leave you with many thoughts. It is a constant rush of ideas and a never-ending process.
Q.Where would you see this painting in relation to your oeuvre?
T & T: In Vector Classics, 2005, we made a series of paintings which reflected our surroundings, our muse and our inspirations. The imagery is derived from our old cabinetry and the garden/block prints in our homes. The scenography was created around us in milieu with our peers, and the influences we loved.