Human nature

THE Resource Art exhibition at New Delhi's Max Mueller Bhavan took a lateral -- often oblique -- view of the interaction between people and nature. Based on a show of contemporary Installation Art in Berlin, the Delhi version comprises photographs of the original works and the artists' explanations.

The individual works seek to clarify what is apparently inexplicable in nature, most of which would otherwise be beyond the pale of the 5 senses. We find narrow plastic pipes bringing in air to a room from the street outside. Each pipe is connected to different objects at the end, so that the moving air results in musical chimes. The sound of the air is thus translated into a "form" which can be easily assimilated. In another work, the notion of art itself is questioned, and "garbage verses true art" is represented in a display of waste rubber (all black), arranged next to waste plastic (all white); and scrap wood is coloured and shaped into a skull. Here, each small black article represents damage done by humankind to forests. Frighteningly, it builds up to an image of humankind destroying itself.

This show combines the works of artists using organic materials that occur abundantly in nature and artificially produced apparatus and the remains of such products. The idea here is to use conventional materials that are not acceptable to more rigid minds. Thus we find aircraft models covered with rice paper connected to a beehive, a terminus in which artists meditate.

The show made sure that the audience was not let off lightly: each had to create his or her own interface with the reality on display.