The artist Sandeep Mukherjee is known for his installations, sculptures and large-scale murals. The native Indian immigrated to the United States at the age of 21. He lives and works in Los Angeles. Since 2006 he has worked as an art professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California. In 2017 he exhibited his art at VOLTA NY and in 2016 at Dhaka Art (Bangladesh). We had him in September 2017 in interview.
Sandeep Mukherjee. IN THE INTERVIEW. IN|DEEDS.
Two sentences concerning your curriculum vitae.
I have been educated in the sciences and the arts and have been a practicing artist based in Los Angeles for the last 17 years. My educational, professional and personal life has spanned India, where I was born and raised, and the United States, where I immigrated to when I was 21 years old.
What are you thinking about most at the moment; what are you up to right know?
Image and experience – how do they affect each other ?
How did you get to art? Why art?
The process does not appear as a choice for me, it seems like an internal imperative with no plausible explanation. I have been making pictures since I was a child.
What makes you happy these days? What frightens you?
The experimental process of making work is exciting to me right now – ‘ what if ?’ is a speculative question that often inspires me. The lack of play, generosity and curiosity in a process frightens me.
What is typical for your art? Could you please share with us the intention of your art?
My art attempts to engage the experiential and embodied aspects of images as a means to explore the relationship between bodies and the spaces they engender.
How do you protect yourself from too much inspiration these days?
I work all the time.
How do you assess the current development of the art market?
Two sentences about your current project.
For this project the car image functions as an extended body sac for this project. Material entanglement is explored through the processes of frottage, painting and installation. The relationship that the car mediates between flesh and the environment is explored through a process of refraction and diffraction that the paint and surface are subjected to over time.
What are your (next) targets?
Will continue exploring the body in extended and materially possible ways.
How much of your work is planned – how much emerges intuitive?
It is a constant ebb and tide between the act of listening to the work and responding. The response in turn continues the process iteratively.
What are your art works about?
My art attempts to engage the experiential and embodied aspects of images as a means to explore the relationship between bodies and the spaces they engender or create.
Which role does play humour in your works?
It plays an important role in my life as a means to prevent taking myself too seriously.
Do you believe that art has a social responsibility? What do you believe it can cause?
Yes, the personal becomes political through practice. It engenders expanded ways of seeing, becoming, thinking, feeling, acting, etc.
What do you feel about political art?
I think all art has a political dimension, how well it operates, how explicit or implicit it is, depends on its context and intentions.
Does art run in your family?
I have musicians in my family but no visual artists.
Do you have a gallerist? How did you meet?
I am showing with 68 Projects in Berlin which is operated by Alfred Kornfeld. He has collected my works and supported my practice for many years and now he is supporting the work by showing it at his gallery 68 Projects, Berlin.
Did your art change during the years – if yes, ho wand why?
Yes it continues to do so, every day. The questions in the work become deeper and the exploration follows uncharted paths. From drawing to painting to installation to moving image to ……
What was your most uncomfortable moment?
Being asked to explain my work in a sentence or two – which seems quite impossible to do…..
What are from your point of view the attributes of really good art?
It seems that good art withstands the test of time.
Do you listen to music, while working? If yes, which one?
Sometimes. My music selection is quite eclectic– jazz, hip-hop, pop, electronic, classical.
Is oneself born as an artist? Or is it strongly required to study?
Being an artist seems to be an internal imperative for me, but education is also important so that one is informed about history, context and ones relationship to it.
To whom do you show an artwork first?
My family when I was a child.
Does Berlin influence you art? If yes, how?
I love Berlin, this is my third time visiting here and I am very excited for my first solo show at 68 Projects. I have a deep interest in German history and culture and Berlin has so much of it !!!
What does the first hour of your day look like?
Quiet, coffee, reading.
Photo: via Sandeep Mukherjee