Born 1971, Tallur, India
Lives and works in India and South Korea
My work is about the absurdities in our daily life. Mankind has developed a skill to conveniently conceptualise these absurdities as if they are an inevitable part of out existence. L N Tallur 1
Until December 1999, Tallur had never been outside India. He refers to his life before 1999 as a ‘period of imaginary knowledge’, based largely upon reading art history books or looking at reproductions in books and magazines in an attempt to imagine the reality of contemporary art and the art world. He would see scenes of New York in Hollywood movies or glossy photographs but, as he says, ‘After my first visit to New York, I was stunned’. He refers to this phase of his development as ‘a period of tourist imaginary knowledge’. Tallur is from rural India, an altogether different environment from its urban counterpart in terms of its culture, economy and geography etc. and he considers the hand made quality of village utensils for example, rather than manufacturing, an important influence on the way in which he fashions his sculpture. Tallur uses this distinction deliberately as part of his visual language encapsulated in his sculpture and installations that contain many references to traditional Indian symbols. Part of his practice has been to translate this symbolic order into a contemporary language that speaks about the depth and diversity of traditional Indian life. He describes the process as follows, “I play the role of a curator in my works – bringing in the context for a discourse – and personally, I enjoy absurdity a lot.” The carved blackened form of a baby elephant in Tallur’s sculpture Esophageal Reflex (on show in Passage to India) refers to the passage down which food moves from throat to stomach. A tiny patch of defecation, cast in silver, lies on the floor. The symbol of the Elephant goes back to ancient Indian mythology, to the gods and demons. The elephant is considered absolutely precious, something to be preserved and protected. Tallur shows the elephant at a moment of vulnerability nevertheless revealing the precious substance of its being.