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July 16, 2017

Discovering The Adventurous Thinker In Amol Patil

Text by Huzan Tata. Photograph by Prateek Patel

“My recent preoccupation has been to look towards caste and hierarchy within the urban set-up”

For Impression, his most challenging creation so far, he sat in one place for three consecutive days while henna was applied to his upper back, followed by an adhesive which was later peeled off to make a ‘jacket’. “Like Impression, Detritus and my series of dust objects were created to make viewers feel disgusted as a response to the visual. Surprisingly, they turned out to be the most appreciated!” says Amol Patil, whose showcase at the Pune Biennale 2017 earlier this year met with rave reviews.

Amol, whose first solo show was held at Clark House Initiative in Mumbai in 2013, is greatly influenced by his grandfather, a povada or Marathi spoken-word poet and oral historian on B. R. Ambedkar, and his father, an avant-garde Marathi theatre artiste who staged plays on inequality and mill tragedies that affected local communities. “Even though I knew about these problems as a child, I never thought about them from the perspective I have today. A lot must have changed from then to now, yet justice is what we all search for through our work.” While both have shaped his world view, he also considers Francis Alÿs an inspiration, as well as the works of Roman Ondak. “Alÿs’ video and performative works inspire me because of their simplicity and humour,” explains the 30-year-old.

Dust particles, spools of hair and household scraps are often his raw materials, and Amol is particularly interested in working with kinetic and found objects. “My recent preoccupation has been to look towards caste and hierarchy within the urban set-up. I begin with documentation and collection of materials that narrate a sense of context,” says the Mumbai-based creator. A participant in several artist residencies in the past, Amol is looking forward to exhibiting at The Showroom in London shortly. And what’s been his greatest learning as an artist? “That art-making and artworks can be tools to see social formations from various perspectives, which in spite of being local can address global issues.”

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