Grant Period: Over six months
Gagan Singh is a Delhi-based visual artist, whose experiments with drawing have involved engaging with illustration, cartoons, storytelling, memory mapping, site specific installations, wall art and artist books. Gagan brings an element of flaneury to his work, both in the literal sense of walking through the city, but also via the mental act of constructing visual narratives in landscapes drawn from memory and observation. ‘I have been influenced by miniature art, comic books, graphic novels, walking in the city and stories trapped in my head. I keep on giving birth to characters which start off their own stories and fade away, giving rise to new characters with traces of the old. The works have become an act of carrying on a never-ending narrative, for example, of doggy koko running into an imaginary mindscape and I forever chasing the dog,’ says Gagan, in his proposal.
In Gagan’s new project, ‘Drawing as a Mental Exercise’, he intends to experiment with animation to reconstruct his everyday experiences of Delhi. Gagan is interested especially in the idea of movement, and of making the invisible visible. He feels that the medium of animation will allow him to interrogate his hypothesis of drawing being a mental exercise: ‘I understand drawing as not just an act of drawing on paper or on a surface but also a process of the mind to create possibilities in the visual language. I am interested in those spaces where I can discover how a series of drawings in a sequence or frames per second connect with themselves to form a visual impression on the eye and the mind of the viewer. I often see that a single drawing of mine triggers a certain motion in the drawing, which I feel I need to develop, stretch out, pull and put action into. I may see a still image but I can see the story animating. This brings me to the need of extending this thought process of the mind by laying the whole story out in motion, which I think animation will allow me to do,’ he remarks.
Gagan’s approach to this project will involve a combination of research and practice. He plans on exploring digital interfaces like drawing with a digital pen, or scanning his paper drawings and adding special effects to enhance the animation and using sound and editing techniques. He also intends to study movement in some of the early animation films in India, as well as look at one or two puppetry traditions. Gagan’s videos and animation work will be displayed in the process of its making in his studio in Nehru Place. He plans on placing his animations in corridors, passages, and open public places in the Nehru Place market to explore the nature of site-specificity and what it means for animation and drawing. He imagines the final outcome as a series of animations through which he will experiment with the boundaries of making ‘visible’ worlds that are ‘invisible’, or concealed in the in-between spaces of his drawings and thought processes.