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In Susanta’s works, quotidian materials and events invite viewers to witness and confront raw reality in interactive environments. His mixed media installations, which often utilize spotlights and kinetic mechanisms seem playful, but are actually uncanny, fearful, and ultimately disconcerting constructions. Mandal enhances each installation by balancing theatrical lights with deep shadows. Through chiaroscuro, the works take on narrative and performative elements, echoing the tradition of vernacular storytelling in India, where painted scrolls are brought to life with lamps at dusk.
For the last couple of years, he has been engaged with a series of sculptural works inspired by the so-called magic lantern, which was a fashionable projection device in the Victorian period. With simple mechanics, lens, oil lamp and hand-painted slides, it used to give great pleasure to the people in the 19th century. Susanta has tried to bring that technology in today’s time in a different sense. For instance, in one his structural works, a candle is the source of light for the projection. Viewers can see the slide images projected in 2 inch x 2.5 inches only. They have to constantly struggle to focus on their own, and feel uneasiness and pleasure to deal with everything physically.
Born in Kolkata, Susanta Mandal studied painting in Kolkata and Varanasi. Mandal has worked as artist in residence at Khoj in New Delhi, Britto in Bangladesh and Theertha in Colombo. His works have been shown in several exhibitions both in India and abroad. He is also a part of the LAYOUT Artists’ Collective, which was formed in 2011 in New Delhi, India.
The artist lives and works in Delhi NCR.
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