• Pallavi Majumder

LOCKDOWN DIARIES

Updated: Feb 3

...days of realizations...nights of contemplations...

Budapest, Hungary

May - December 2020


I feel this was the most challenging period that I ever experienced, emotionally, physically, psychologically, and artistically..even while entirely it was spent in quarantine. I can not remember when was the last time I was mentally engaged, challenged, perplexed yet energized and active so much in my entire life. Everything has its own time. This time, the unpleasant scenarios and challenges might have been necessary and needed. I cannot agree more that these have transformed, sculpted, and evolved me to a greater extent. I totally feel, all that I had inculcated and experienced in the last few months have made me stronger and injected immense faith and belief in myself. I believe this was also the period when I felt empty, the most… Grief, uncertainty, anxiety, and helplessness had broken me down, and then again inspired me….but this emptiness that had been created inside, invited the urge to work and contemplate more and more, thus somehow channelizing my entire energy to new creations and thoughts. I experimented more, I explored more for the refinement of inner complex thoughts and newer processes of execution. This period made me develop a new relationship with me, myself, my strengths, and my works...a perfect ABSURD world of my own with myself.



Here I am adding some of the works that I created meanwhile struggling indoors during the lockdown based on some such realizations, the absurdities of life, and its awkward epiphanies and challenges. I didn’t always give titles to them but wrote down a few lines about the emotional state or the state of being that inspired me for that particular work, and as I believe and have mentioned always, not all of them have names, not all of them can be explained.


TITLE: DAYS & NIGHTS

MEDIUM: Video (duration: 1 minute)

[Handmade shutter curtain with paper bamboo sticks and jute thread: black paper (circle)]

SIZE: total length 3’ x 1.5'


SAME BUT DIFFERENT


Waking up every morning…removing the curtains…checking outside the window…checking out the weather…checking out how much new leaves grew on the tree that I have as my only neighbor…opening the window just to find out how windy it is that day… Every day…

Putting down the curtains…watching the gleaming street lights through the translucent fabric…erasing off certain dreams and wishes…hoping for a different tomorrow…listening to the silence till sleep takes over… Every night.


Here again, the black circle symbolizes the enticing and fond memories and wishes (as mentioned in my artist statement, black stands as a color of freedom for me) that are being uncovered, glanced at, and covered up again…day after day, night after night…until the world heals.



TITLE: EXPERIENCE

MEDIUM: Mixed media drawings on Photo-chromatic paper

SIZE: 42 pieces (each 5” x 3”)



"Experience" Time and Maturity

A compilation of lockdown anecdotes. Sometimes...with time we lose somethings...somethings remain....some new things emerge out as well... Here the actual game-changer is the material... it intensifies with every passing day.... so when I work on the white paper with white paint or pens... it's not visible immediately..but after some days, when the paper starts darkening with the exposure to light then these hidden drawings reveal themselves ...and many of the black lines get lost within the darkness......Just like those untold incidents and stories of our lives…




TITLE: CONFINEMENT OR CATALYST

MEDIUM: paper, drawings with white pencil

SIZE: 12” x 12” x 6”



This crisis that the world faces now has confined us all within closed spaces and limited our movements and plans as well. But I felt this confinement was like a boon for me, directing all my time and concern towards my work and to my own-self. To contemplate, to clarify thoughts, to reflect, and to produce…this time that the lockdown provided facilitated as a catalyst for me. This work depicts that sense of security of staying indoors both mentally and physically. I found true happiness in simple things staying closed from the outer world. Also, this confinement made me come closer to myself, my thoughts, and my works (the black circle). this confinement was never thus a restrictive force rather emancipation for me.




TITLE: ARRANGEMENTS & REARRANGEMENTS

MEDIUM: Cutouts and drawings on black paper, fiberglass

SIZE: 1.5’ x 1’

Assembling and reassembling the bits and pieces of those moments that will one day become memories. The jigsaw puzzle of life need not be arranged or assorted... there is no complete plan that we can follow and build up...it builds up its own picture...with time...and memories.


TITLE: TRUTH & ILLUSION

MEDIUM: Paper, string, foam ball

SIZE: 1’ x 1’ x 6”

While solving a problem, confusion, or a riddle, we all fall into this room of indecisiveness… where moments of confusion encircle us. All the possibilities seem equally potential. All the answers seem equally promising. Those junctures of dilemma, those indecisive phases where every choice seems undeniable, undesirable, or irresistible make the journey even more exciting and worth remembering. The final solution might not be as thrilling as the paths chosen and rejected to reach it. Truth and illusion and the journey to differentiate the two now have equally become so hallucinating. Also, it is a respective concept. Which one would you chose here and deny us the truth held together by the strings of memory and experiences?



TITLE: MOMENT OF INDECISION

MEDIUM: Charcoal, watercolor, and paper on paper

SIZE: 24” x 10”


Every mental factor has unique properties that influence our perception of reality and our subjective experience moment after moment. For this reason, the primary cause of changes in experience should not be attributed to external realities, to objects, but rather to the properties of that specific moment in our mind and conscience. Any fact in our life can be considered pleasant or unpleasant depending on the situation we find ourselves in and the “lenses” we wear to examine it. Every mental state, every moment of the mind, is made up of a changeable variety of properties that can be combined in order to determine a particular mental state and its tone…and we keep on connecting, detaching, and adjusting with these linear and complex intangible spaces every single moment we make decisions.




TITLE: MEMORIES OF ONE SUCH NIGHT

MEDIUM: Drawing with charcoal and pencil, paper and foam ball on paper

SIZE: 12” x 8”



I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain—and back in rain. I have out-walked the furthest city light. I have looked down the saddest city lane. I have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet When far away an interrupted cry Came over houses from another street, But not to call me back or say good-bye; And further still at an unearthly height, One luminary clock against the sky Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. I have been one acquainted with the night.


From lockdown anecdotes series - SAME BUT DIFFERENT


This work is inspired by the poem “West - Running Brook” by Robert Frost with which I could totally relate to the silence of the city, the emptiness of the busy streets during the pandemic.




TITLE: RECOLLECTING & DISCOVERING

MEDIUM: Cutouts and drawings (pen, charcoal) on paper

SIZE: 12” x 12” x 20”


I live in a single room here. my single room of existence... especially due to the lockdown, my studio is also closed so this tiny room has now become my everything. Throughout the lockdown here I have filled up my room with my works and I put them up here and there in connection to the elements already present within the room. This work reflects my intimacy with my room which was my only companion through all these days. I feel every element of my room corresponds to my works, making it a larger work where my small works try to fit in, finding their own space.


I live in a tiny single room but I am free to meander through the infinite rooms of stored chapters and episodes within...trying to connect the anomalies that each wall has embedded…sometimes they fall in place ...and sometimes they amaze for their sheer incongruity… just like my works (my emotions) displayed in my room.





TITLE: Mal de Coucou

MEDIUM: Paper

SIZE: 2’ x 2’

A work based on a word from ‘THE DICTIONARY OF OBSCURE SORROWS’ by John Koenig. Mal de Coucou n. a phenomenon in which you have an active social life but very few close friends—people who you can trust, who you can be yourself with, who can help flush out the weird psychological toxins that tend to accumulate over time—which is a form of acute social malnutrition in which even if you devour an entire buffet of chitchat, you’ll still feel pangs of hunger.


TITLE: ADJUSTMENT & ADVANCEMENT

MEDIUM: Black Paper, white thread

SIZE: 3’ x 1’


Same pages folded differently. The same element forming and reforming its identity, and another element (the single line of the thread) passes through all of them trying to fit in accordingly. The shifting character of one element thus enhances and forces the other element to change and adjust accordingly. The dilemma of both these elements here has been highlighted where their relationship of accommodation and adjustment are being glorified. In life, our situations change every day and we are forced to adapt and adjust accordingly to ever-changing circumstances. Also, the circumstances give us room to fit in and stimulate us to bring a change in our predetermined paths…and all through these adjustments and re-directions we advance, we proceed, we evolve.



TITLE: CHAOS & BALANCE

MEDIUM: Paper folding and cutout

SIZE: 1’ x 1’ x 1’


We want life to be secure somewhere. We know that it is insecure. We know that everything is so fragile, yet we try our best to fit life into some order. And each time life gives us a shock we invent one more theory so that it does not destroy our basic idea that life has some reason, some direction. It may or may not have a purpose but we will never come to know of it. Even if we do, it is just a creation of our mind, it’s a story that makes our lives livable. Truth or reality has no place in this created chaos that we develop within to maintain a balance that is sought after for overcoming the chaos that life creates in every step.



TITLE: TRANSIENCE

SIZE: 100 cm x 38 cm

MEDIUM: Drawing on Paper



Every mental factor has unique properties that influence our perception of reality and our subjective experience moment after moment. For this reason, the primary cause of changes in experience should not be attributed to external realities, to objects, but rather to the properties of that specific moment in our mind and conscience. Any fact in our life can be considered pleasant or unpleasant depending on the situation we find ourselves in and the “lenses” we wear to examine it. Every mental state, every moment of the mind, is made up of a changeable variety of properties that can be combined in order to determine a particular mental state and its tone…and we keep on connecting, detaching, and adjusting with these linear and complex intangible spaces every single moment we make decisions. These moments are transitory, they change every now and then, meanwhile, we keep on adapting ourselves, our presence, and existence to the changed circumstances, to the altered emotions.




TITLE: TRAPPED

SIZE: 100 cm x 38 cm

MEDIUM: Paper Cutting and Folding

Sometimes I trap myself within the self-created chaos of my own complexities...the conundrum of my own expectations...the clamor of my own arguments...intentionally or unintentionally...but then there is always strange tranquility of finding myself surrounded and guarded by these diverse surfaces and tiny pockets containing the thoughts I conceived, the questions I raised, the world I created, within me...I believe this unintelligible tension of the urge to escape and the sense of security has built up a perfect symbiotic cohabitation





10. TITLE: Meaningful _ Meaningless



'Meaning-less' - the absence of explanations or absence of direct visual information? I keep on thinking and the meaning of meaning becomes meaningless to me more and more….




11. TITLE: DEAR ISTVAN…


A series of works and writings in memory of Istvan, my friend, philosopher, guide….my father…

• BELIEF • You will come through it...I believe. Take your time... I am waiting. "The thought carries afar the glance seeks horizons. why would you ask where you are now? the sun glares at you the moon shines."

Duties: closing off...carrying on...passing on... "May that fleeting things do not touch us along the way. never mind what comes life death just loyalty just duty." You told me last day, "Words are temporary....words are never enough....words are forgotten....words are often unnecessary....words are misinterpreted...words create confusion.... so choose words wisely because with time words become meaningless..." .....but I still have so many words to share with you...so many words to learn from you....please come back to yourself...your words were the most meaningful things to me.

Lost yet hoping... Lost...not in this battle but within your supreme energy...remembering how you put me in the challenges and guarded at the same time with your magnificent presence. Hoping...hoping...keeping up the lights.....




Anticipation

We understand facts..and figures...numbers and statements better than vague assumptions..we always look for such information to validate our beliefs and as the resolution to uncertainty ...but now its a long wait.....a very long one....where facts become meaningless...numbers are unworthy...the compressed void of anticipation and patience will rule this long journey.......


Presence and Absence ...the dichotomy of our existence...an illusion we create for ourselves. The presence within absence and absence while being present is a vivid propensity we practice, believe, and seek...constantly.


The empty silence… Some silence bears the most disturbing cacophony... Some emptiness holds the most meaningful realizations...



Absence...the impermanence of faith. But I believe...


To hide...or to be hidden…which one is more complex? Which one is more stressful?



Could you escape your pain???

We suffer...because we believe...we create a world of our beliefs...and we identify so much with our beliefs that we become what we believe...we seek strength from these created beliefs around us...and not from within..and hence the pain...




TITLE: THE MESS



We had always messed it up...do we remember where we had started and where we intend to finish...Plans...one after the other… speculations...suppositions...intentions...are they all where they were supposed to be..where we had planned??? Are all the dots placed in the same spaces that we had intended them to occupy...??? Are all the stairs that we had counted led to what we had imagined???...did we not miss out on anything???...or did we miss out on the idea of missing........are we just messing around or are we our own mess???




TITLE: DETACHMENT


When you know you are not alone..yet you are absolutely alone ...occupying a space helplessly separated even from your inner strength.




TITLE: PLACEMENT - DISPLACEMENT


Placement...A space that you occupy circumscribed by time and memories. Displacement...Quality of your adaptability..a transfer of energy...a departure for a beginning..a test of patience...a break in "the known..the usual". Placement ensures security...displacement nullifies it and encourages chance. Both keep on knitting the tapestry of existence...each time leaving a trace of the vivid epiphanies encountered and experienced. Placing and displacing oneself continuously...one understands one's strengths and weaknesses... I have been placing and displacing myself physically and mentally for quite a long time now..its an extremely engaging wonderful journey of self-assessment, I must say.



TITLE: RELOCATION


From shortcomings to over-comings...we evolve..from 'we can't do' to 'we must do'..we progress..from dilemma to decisions...we discover.......from directions to re-directions we emancipate.... the path is never straight...recognize and relocate.




TITLE: Talking to the Walls ○ Enclosure and Association



Developing a new relationship is always exciting...a bit of hope...a bit of anxiety..a pinch of inhibitions...a splash of expectations... every new beginning marks the onset of a new range of discoveries...discovering the other...discovering the surroundings...discovering time..discovering the self... Every newness brings intoxication..stimulation and thrill..until it becomes the usual. ....I am developing a new relationship with my walls..with my new space..my enclosure... This confinement has brought a new beginning ...




TITLE: CARRYING ON…



Every day is still the same...every day is still new... every day is still the reflection of yesterday... every day is still the shadow of tomorrow…





TITLE: RELIANCE




A covert, symbiotic space where our baffling ends meet; I secure it from the outer complexes. I know now nothing should break me…I have been compressed to the limit of reverting back…there is no more turning back now…my limits are my power…and I rely on them.




TITLE: CONSISTENCY AND MAINTAINANCE



Struggling between our choices, maintaining balance… presupposing… following them, and finally again discovering the same mistakes… and hence the endless cycle of maintaining the consistency of discovering new flaws, repeating old flaws, and making way for the newer flaws continues…




TITLE: PRIORITIES




What is to be picked up and what is to be given away...what is to be followed..what is to be prevented...which path will unite...which will separate..which one will lead to a dead-end...who is the truth...who is a shadow...when to jump in...when to deviate...when to turn back..how long to follow rules...how often to break free....when to start....when to pause...when to stop...where to stop...and why...???



To start ...to stop...to start again...an endless journey...a journey we are expected to perform..unknowingly...until we reach that unknown destination...and beyond...because we never know it when it arrives.





Pallavi Majumder

Budapest, Hungary

31. 12. 2020

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