Lines Fiction: your are a draughtsman based in India, filming the process of your drawing in situ with your smart phone. The imagery is rough, always in black and white, and we hear the sound of New Delhi streets – do you see the city as your studio?
Gagan Singh: I think, as I sit down to write this I am reminded of how I derived to this way of working. I saw conflict, I always saw conflict in sitting in my studio and drawing as something boring. Now what this boring is, could again be opened up as a matter to discuss. I like to walk, run and enjoy the by lanes of the city. It gives me energy to walk and understand what is happening in those moments.
And like the process of how I draw, I like things to be pathetically simple, stupid and just be…
So I see this as that only. Yes, right now I am sticking to black and white, its really interesting to see such lines, tones, forms and not colour.
And carrying the mobile is easy and India in general is developing this trend towards the smart phone. I tried photography, but was taken away by the whole process of movement happening everywhere which came alive in the process of shooting a video. That is exciting to me.
Right now I see that I am dealing with a confusion of what drawing, video, animation is… I want to be able to sing, listen to sounds, draw across surfaces, and somewhere play with the act of the whole thing.
After my last project, I see extending my video animation drawing as a I build an installation somewhere. I would like to integrate it. I am not sure if I start with the video first but that is something I need to explore.
City as a studio also means playing with observation, moments and I see that as an extension to how I draw. I draw sitting in a cafe with a small sketchbook but the camera, the handheld phone lets me be discreet in the city, of tiny marks, drawings on surfaces. But I want to extend this somehow. I am not sure how but I can imagine myself walking more in the city to engage with this thought.
Lines Fiction: your last name Singh refers to your membership of the Sikh, does this aspect nourish your philosophical reflections of space, perception, and the process of art?
Gagan Singh: When I bring in the religion, Sikhism, it certainly influences a sense of philosophy of how I see the daily operations of life. I like to draw my self and I always keep a sense of respect when I draw myself in the tradition of wearing a turban. Also when you mention space, perception, the philosophy of religion is like a base laid out to me in my mind. I often do feel it. I mean what I see and how I project deals with how I think about the subject. It is certainly connected with how religion has shaped my perception.
If I see a road, a gate, a route, nature, a passage, time, life, senses of humour, anger etc. and complexities of life, the drawings I feel are in sync with what I believe in. So religion, something I have grown up with, have read and experienced, is always tested with the situations of life. And if the process of drawing is about such situations of life, then there is a constant connection.
Lines Fiction: Besides your work of drawing in the open you also have plans for a project space. Do you see it as a place for your own work or will you also present other artists?
Gagan Singh: I am working on RIDS ( research in drawing space) and it is meant for other artists / anyone who wishes to engage with aspects of drawing. I have not started it at the moment but intend to do so soon.
Rids is an online / offline space to encourage a dialogue, conversation on people who are interested in drawing.