Yog Raj Chitrakar: Memory Drawing VI

Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels

May 2009
Duration: 96 hours
Curator:Christophe Slagmuylder
Costumes: Tabasheer Zutshi
Photography: Shivani Gupta
Production Assistance: Tabasheer Zutshi and Madhavi Gore
Project interns: Starlyn D’Souza and Aarti Sunder
Presentation: Les Brigittines, Kunstenfestivaldesarts

For Yog Raj Chitrakar: Memory Drawing VI, May 2009, at the kunstenfestivaldesarts 09, a theater festival in Brussels, Yog Raj resided at Les Brigittines, a baroque chapel now converted to a theater, for 96 hours. Every morning he would exit the Chapel. He perched himself high at the Palais du Justice, the Supreme Court looking down at the city. From here the view of the city is iconic. He spent two days drawing on canvas the panorama of the city in two halves.

I immediately made analogies to a city that is culturally and politically divided, the French on one side and the Flemish on the other. Yog Raj would return to the Chapel in the evening where he would eat and rest but also sew the 2 halves of the city together to make one large 16 meters panoramic drawing of the city. The drawing, hung on the chapel walls, functioned as the idealized studio backdrop against which Yog Raj struck a final pose, this time to resemble a Greek hairless goddess in almost direct reference to Neo-Classical architecture, painting and sculpture, a place where Brussels’ identity is rooted.

In Yog Raj Chitrakar: Memory Drawing VI, Nikhil Chopra put on the shoes of Yog Raj Chitrakar, a fictional character inspired by his grandfather, a landscape painter. This character changed his guise over the course of four days: starting as a gentleman, he went from dandy to queen. He moved into the Brigittines Chapel, where he lived, ate and slept and covered the walls with life-size drawings of things seen on his walks around Brussels. Just like his grandfather, Chopra is in search of the perfect view.

The difference is that the object of his interest is not in nature, but in the transformations that take place in the city. You could see him at work at the Palais de Justice / Justitiepaleis and on the Place du Jeu de Balle / Vossenplein, where he captured the urban landscape in charcoal. The audience accompanied Yog Raj Chitrakar on his walks or saw him at work at the Brigittines Chapel.* The Kunstenfestivaldesarts takes place in a cosmopolitan city of Brussels in dozens of theatres and art houses for 3 weeks every May. It provides an alternative space and time for about thirty international artists. The festival is dedicated to new creations, intended for artists with a personal outlook on the world and spectators willing to question their own views through performances, installations, and films.

*From the 2009 kunstenfestivaldesarts catalog

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