The India Art Fair

Artist duo Thukral and Tagra are all set to launch a new interactive project titled, ‘and Archive’ on 28th April at The India Art Fair, New Delhi. The project builds on their practice in game design and backgrounds in typography, printing to offer a series of game editions and book works. The series of books and game editions are a means to disseminate knowledge, driven by in-depth research, which further delves into the field of game design, sustainability, and self-introspecting themes for all generations to indulge in the practical understanding of knowledge and creativity.

Thukral & Tagra work on new formats of public engagement and attempt to expand the scope of what art can do, further emphasizing what the practice can do in a virtual context through their archives and publications. They break out of the mediated-disciplinary world, creating multi-modal sensory experiences. Their earlier work dealt with tropes of migration, mythological narratives, symbols of Indian identity, climate, health and motifs of a globally manifested consumer culture that enliven a largely pedantic and static area of cultural material.

From a pop visual character to a predominantly abstract visual approach and compositional philosophy, Thukral & Tagra constantly shift in terms of their grammar and vocabulary. They have offered socio-political commentary that is implicit in their aesthetic for the past twenty years. Lately, they seek to identify the practice as pedagogy through their collaborative Pollinator.io, an Interdisciplinary lab, which cultivates an inclusive learning ecosystem to achieve knowledge sharing through cross-pollination. In present times, T&T turn to activism through their art and speculative design practice is a case of artists following the trajectory of their artistic practice to its logical end. Additionally, in the last few years, T&T’s repertoire of games as both disruptive and playful, as well a tool of art pedagogy and social awareness, has helped enlarge the scope of their art practice and deepen its relevance to the contemporary outside the white cube.

Thukral and Tagra’s game editions reflect on the feeling of hopelessness, daily trials and tribulations; and the issues that grapple us on a national level like climate change. The key works include ‘Weeping Farm, 2022’ which explores a group of women belonging to the Indian agrarian community burdened with overdue debts, doing odd jobs; making attempts to survive in a highlycompetitive world. The game takes you through the journey of a woman farmer for a year, and how she battles out to survive against all the odds.

These games have been carefully designed to assure sustainability and to promote environmentally conscious products by merely using all handcrafted and eco-friendly materials. Following a similar approach, ‘2030 Net Zero, 2022’ is a game that attempts to explore the tonnes of greenhouse gases that are added in our atmosphere each year; and the participants of the game need to bring it down to net zero.

On another hand, Thukral and Tagra’s book works introspect on various dimensions including nature, ecosystem, agrarian crisis, debts, suicide, rejection, shrinking employment and much more. The key books include the iconic ‘Weeping Farm, 2022’ - a book developed out of explorations and observations made from the Indian agrarian crisis, which pinpoints towards the everyday battles of food insecurity, privatisation, indebtedness etc. The book hosts 9 iterations along with interactive engagements through which a reader can witness three segments of the artists’ practice coming together; including a long-standing interest in socio-economics of society; growing concern for research and lexicon building into the current systems; and a desire to cognize the urgency using the metaphorical vocabulary of sports and play as a pedagogical tool.

“Artistic processes are unique, they are honest time-stamps and documents for future reference and retrospect. Archives are humble ledgers, and record transactions of particular time and emotions. An artist's book should be seen as a key building block of the culture. We have always believed an artist has the potential to experiment, and manifest ideas which question the status quo, and ask for a change. The fact that art can comfort and disrupt them at the same time. We apply our skills and bring knowledge dissemination in various ways such as formats of the game which act as an extension to the book, they sit at the intersection of design and performance.” - Thukral and Tagra

In addition to the collection of books, ‘Somnium Semnibus’ revolves around exploring the idea of a journey both inwards and outwards; the exercise is a humble approach to illustrate the wide variety of species present in Rani Bagh, Bombay that compels us to think of the ecosystem around us.

Thukral and Tagra Archive (T&Ta) has been conceived from 18 years+ of studio practice which dealt with Communication Design, Fine Arts, and Exhibition Making. Their love for prints and publications hails from their family history of print shops and art-making in general. T&Ta is a site for retrospect, which takes note of the time, documents, sketches, writings, with both realized and unrealized projects. It offers a visual marathon that disseminates knowledge as a therapy in the form of game editions, book works and prints.

Thukral and Tagra have garnered enormous recognition for using visual art as a medium to illustrate their views on various national and societal subjects. Their new project intends to deliver the same message of disseminating valuable insights and perspectives, whilst engaging with multigenerational audiences through an unusual yet creative and educational approach.

The showcase will be on display at The IAF Studio, India Art Fair from 28th April to 1st May 2022.

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19th April, 2022 Visual Art | Mixed Media