In the central room of the commodious Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke _ currently, the venue for Chennai-based artist Benitha Perciyal's show, Aggregate - is a circular wall-mounted sculpture created out of raw banana fibre. Five-feet wide across the diameter, the sculpture titled, "What Am I looking For?" signifies the earth element. It's one of four open-mouthed, papier-mâché containers that the artist has used to represent the four elements: earth, air, fire and water.
The adjoining room holds the other three containers, their surfaces lavered with rice paper and seeds. "All Arise In It, All Dissolve In It" created with African tulip seeds, depicts fire; "We Shall Meet Again" created in tacoma and Indian elm seeds, sums up water; while air,"You Can't Be Alone " is depicted with the use of rice paper and pink trumpet seeds.
"Last year, when I was creating this new body of work, there was there was no water in Chennai. And a lot of my work, as well as the way in which I worked, changed because of that. It made me think about how these elements affect us in ways we can't imagine," says the 41-year-old, as she throws a glance around the Colaba gallery, just days before the opening of her Mumbai show. "The material I work with signifies life. I want the works to age with me. It must speak for the moment. These materials speak to nature, and I am only the tool that allows them to have a conversation "