The Artist and Her Process
In her formative years, textile and mixed-media designer Isha Pimpalkhare was always found indulging in hobbies like origami and pottery. Hanging around and painting at her artist aunt, Ketaki Pimpalkhare’s studio was also commonplace. Isha was 14 years old when she came across NID and that’s when she began her pursuit of design. Mere hobbies evolved into a plausible career option.
Isha’s process doesn’t begin with pen and paper or any kind of sketches, her thoughts are directly manifested onto the material she uses. Taking any kind of shape and form, much like her work, she defines her creative process as being fluid. She further adds, ‘Every piece of work that I make is an evolved thought or a continuation of the previous idea that I’d worked on. Each project is often a seamless transition from one idea into another.’Currently fascinated by magic realism and Murakami’s Kafka On The Shore, she’s also exploring the idea of creating her own magical reality. While her work already deals with the intermingling of the real and surreal, the known and unknown, Isha is currently experimenting with how her alien-looking kinetic sculptures could sit and integrate themselves within the known natural environment. She also uses reading as a tool to augment her imagination further.
L: Fluid Form; R: Still Life
Alive and Timeless
By a quick scroll through Isha’s Instagram page, it’s evident that the pastels and slow movement on her feed exude a calming effect. It's natural to look at a piece of work just by itself, free of any context, and for the human mind to make arbitrary associations with it. Isha’s series Alive and Timeless in particular, transported my mind to the Iris Van Herpen runway. They evoked a similar sense of futurism and a certain surreal aspect, slightly difficult to articulate. On probing further she elucidates, ‘The Biophilia Hypothesis is a concept which states that we as humans have an innate and genetically determined affiliation to our natural surroundings. Alive was the first kinetic sculpture I created based off of this idea, where my intent was to bring this affiliation and familiarity that we have with nature, onto a textile material.’
Trying to humanise the inanimate materials she works with, Alive is an attempt to exhibit the very essential act of breathing on fabric. It began with the aim of creating an evolved and empathetic material experience. Building on it, she further added the concept of time to the mix for the series Timeless. Adding more depth to Alive, Timeless emphasises the interaction of time and movement. She explains her thought process further, ‘The sculpture almost works like the minute hand of a clock, where each element shrinks and blooms in a rhythmic, cyclic manner, displaying a constant change in state and time.’
As multitasking has become the defining factor of contemporary existence, Isha’s visuals and work act as a rupture to the status quo. She wishes for the audience to feel a sense of familiarity with the stasis of her kinetic pieces, and be able to immerse themselves in the material experience. She breaks it down further, ‘My hope is for the viewer to really engage with this familiar experience, forgetting just for a moment about everything else they might have on their mind. I would like that the slow controlled movements bring about a sense of calm and ease.’ Passing through life, our experiences with the objects we interact with might be forgettable. However, Isha aims to make such relationships more dynamic and meaningful.
The Pandemic and Beyond
Talking about the purpose of art and design during these distressing times, she explains, ‘Art and design span from being a tool for critical commentary on society, to a very essential tool in terms of communication. Though not an essential service in times such as the pandemic, they almost become like a mirror, pushing us to introspect and retrospect our actions as the collective human race.’ Like everyone else, the lockdown has slowed down work for her as well, and she’s got a lot of catching up to do. Other than that, Isha is also thrilled to be launching her own online shop, which will be opening soon.
You can visit her website here: https://ishapimpalkhare.com
Text Unnati Saini