Manjunath Kamath – TALK

<p>“The storyteller is the living archive of a society and also its most important reality-check. He holds its memories in trust, exposes its follies with the sting of wit, deflates its pretensions with wry humour. And yet, by deploying the quixotic rainbow figures of hope, he can also inspire a society to renew itself. Manjunath Kamath (born 1972) has fulfilled the storyteller’s mandate through a range of media: paintings, mixed-media composites, sculptural constructs, as well as a series of Claymation and line animation video works made between 2000 and 2010. In these animation videos, especially, Kamath dramatises his preoccupation with the fraught nature of human communication….</p> <p></p> <p>In ‘Talk’, Kamath stages a two-way interpellation. We watch as two heads, presented as sculpted busts that have suddenly come to life, engage in a duel. Their rival thoughts take the form of a vivid outpouring of expressive contents: birds, eggs, cats and rats. The heads either generate, or morph into, a series of avatars as they attempt to outperform and overcome one other, in a scenario reminiscent of the rapid-fire exchange of spells between angry master and renegade disciple in the Grimm Brothers’ tale, ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’. The title of Kamath’s work is ironic: the interlocutors are talking at rather than talking to one another, turning language from a medium of communion into one of confrontation. Their exchanges depart further and further away from understanding, and descend deep into irreconciliable antagonism. By a further curious complexity, though, they share the same vocabulary of images in the course of their rhetorical exchanges of image: Kamath underscores the evident but often unremarked truth, lost on votaries of a language-based politics of identity, that the sharing of a common language is rarely a guarantee of amity.”</p> <ul> <li>Ranjit Hoskote</li> </ul><p></p>