Whirling Out | Views about the show

‘Whirling Out’, Harsha vardhan’s debut solo show brought together a body of works incorporating diverse media such as sculpture, video, performance and installations. He believes his work is about the other and even personal history is somehow very peripheral to him. Harsha tries to shift the focus from the individual, particularly the artist himself towards the other; plainly spinning out.



Display of the Exhibition ‘Whirling Out’


The show’s centerpiece is Harsha’s sound sculpture ‘Column of Sound’ which shape-shifts sound into tactile form, it stands tall as he brings tactility to sound through the material, turning the hidden inside out. The exhibition can be described as a laboratory where he has experimented with various materials and philosophies. The works revolve around the idea of whirling out, both bodily and metaphysically being inspired by the whirling dervishes in Turkey. The work is also a refreshing tactile departure from the ‘don’t touch’ rules in today’s art world.



Whirling Man, 2016


The ‘whirling man’ is a life-sized revolving portrait of the artist himself epitomizing spinning as life energy. The mobile sculpture is a manifestation of the artist’s body as if in full spinning motion which could be rotated by the spectator. The metaphor to the work comes from the principals of inertia and angular momentum which exist everywhere from atoms to the planets. It is scientifically recognized that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no being or object which does not revolve because all beings are comprised of revolving electrons, protons, and neutrons in atoms. Everything revolves, and the human being lives by means of the revolution of these particles, by the revolution of the blood in his body, and by the revolution of the stages of his life, by his coming from the earth and his returning to it.

However, all of these revolutions are natural and unconscious. But the human being possesses a mind and an intelligence which distinguishes him from other beings. Thus, the whirling dervish intentionally and consciously participates in the shared revolution of other beings.



Spinface, 2016


An early impetus of the spinning portraits stems from the work ‘Spin Face‘ a revolving portrait which ceases to spin as if staring back at us. In sculptural form it is half-human and half spin-top. A maze carved on the revolving spin-top is only visible when motionless.

Knots and Boulders were two photo performances which were displayed in the show emphasizing on two disparate ideas about human relations with other beings and nature in large.

‘Boulders’ is a video performance epitomizing the boulders which have taken 2,500 million years to form on this planet. These graceful boulders in a variety of shapes and sizes have withstood the vagaries of nature and its elements for ages. These formations are in the danger of being reduced to rubble due to the onslaught of relentless urbanization and mindless development. In the midst of cacophony one finds solace in the aesthetics of a boulder and might emotionally connect to its existence. As an artist I try to explore the relation between boulders and humans which drown in tears as I hug them in grief.


Bold & Boulder_Harsha.jpg

Bold & Boulder, 2014


‘Knots’ is a public intervention which questions the role of knots in the Indian marriage, playing a pivot role in bonding two human beings. Indian marriage starts with a knot imposing a belief that enables two humans to be together for life. Knots were tied to the artist by fellow artists and participants who join in the process of making knots thereby critiquing the institution of marriage and its relevance in today’s age. Locals joined to tie three knots symbolic of the south Indian marriage thereby raising questions about the rituals of marriage.



‘Whirling Out’ a solo show of Sculptures at Lali Kala Akademi

harsha-3850 harsha-3857 harsha-3880 harsha-3977 harsha-4010 harsha-4069 harsha-4113 harsha-4121 harsha-4124 harsha-4138‘Whirling Out’, Harsha vardhan’s debut solo show curated by Monica Jain at the Foyer Gallery, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, brings together a body of works incorporating diverse media such as sculpture, performance and installations.

About Artist
Harsh V Durugadda (b.1989) is a Delhi based artist. Harsha uses scale and sensation to address both social and personal issues, through his practice which often levitates between sculpture and performance art.

Harsha’s art practice is diverse in terms of medium, where shape-shifting and flamboyance are some of the more visible themes seen in his works. In 2014, his sculpture ‘Dynamo’ was exhibited at Emergent Art space, USA. Technology becomes key to Harsha’s work, be it cutting edge digital fabrication or new media tools. He has participated in group and solo shows both in India and abroad and has received a fellowship by the British Council for his social art project. He currently is pursuing Masters in Arts and Aesthetics at JNU where he furthers his interest in Buddhist sculpture and has recently been invited to present at the British Museum, London on the same.

Sculpture a Vehicle of Culture

Copyright State Archaeology Telangana

Roundel of King Mandhata

The Phanigiri site in Nalgonda Dist., Telangana belongs to the period when Indian sculpture reached its pinnacle. These limestone sculptures are some of the finest examples of Amaravati School of Art 1 which have been only looked at as precious aesthetic artworks for religious propaganda i.e. to serve the Buddhist ideologies across the Telangana region. Delving more into the nuances of the sculptures one may draw new trajectories to understanding them. The Phanigiri site contains sculptures of Buddhist narrative in limestone where they stand as epic achievements of human endeavor.

The limestone reliefs are famously compared to the Elgin Marbles 2 from Athens thereby considered to be some of the finest in the world. Now by looking at these sculptures from the sculptor’s standpoint the following things sprout out. There is more to the sculptures than what meets the eye, the sculptors created a riddle to be unraveled by present generations in order to make a complete understanding of the purpose and context of the monument.  The selection of the stone occurred as an abundance of the resource in nearby locations which had bought a few challenges. One has to be extremely sensitive of the technological innovations that might be present to execute such sculptural marvels. Certain technical solutions were sure to be present as in the absence it would be nearly impossible to achieve such aesthetic results.

A sculptor is the key to materialize the aspirations of the patrons who aspire to spread the message of their belief to larger audiences through art . Centuries after Phanigiri in the Deccan plateau during the Kakatiya rule a temple was named after the chief sculptor to commemorate him. Sculpture has always been a major contributor in throwing light on the diaspora of the civilization it belonged to. On close examination one notices that the intricate carving on the relief panels is only possible by extremely precise tools. So the sculptor who also is an ironsmith would forge these sophisticated tools designed to carve the sculptures. Based on modern carving techniques the limestone slabs if carved dry, the tool plunge would be very negligible and would blunt the tools instantaneously. In order to cut through limestone one has to use water as a lubricant while carving through it. The sculptors of Phanigiri might have used indigenous techniques to carve these ivory like relief sculptures .One such technique might be to use shallow water bodies ( Musi-River) to submerge limestone slabs and carve over them. The same water body might also have been used for transporting the slabs on wooden logs from the quarry to the stupa site.

Copyright State Archaeology Telangana

Nativity Scene 


By 1st century CE the rules of the temple design were varied and were heavily drawing from the Vastu Shastra and Shilpa Shastra in Hindu tradition. But Amaravati School of Art was trying to create a mark for itself as the sculptors seem to have been privileged with utmost freedom in challenging the existing norms. There have been no traces of preliminary drawings which might be used to construct the complex dynamic compositions which would have then been transferred to the limestone panels for carving. What is intriguing is their ability to create a design language which was both complex in narrative and yet had a synergy among other works of the same monument. In enquiring more about the sculptors and their background it is logical to assume that the guild formed not only of the sculptors who belonged to particular caste or region but also of the trained monks who were at service to complete the monument. This collaboration of the men could have bought the technique of transcendental meditation (i.e Vipassana) helping tap the inner consciousness powers to give way to such magnificent design of the Phanigiri panels. A lot of 15th CE research papers by eminent scholars have bought to our notice the practice of classical painters to use live reenactment of the composition by men and women along with the animals & props to enable the artists to compose the scene in detail. Classical sculpture belonging to the late 14th CE period mostly saw sculptors heavily using models for study and then compose the postures to achieve realism. Numerous study sketches and maquettes were made before actually starting to carve the full scale sculpture. So the possibility of preliminary sketches and drawings could have existed on some perishable material. In comparison the Elgin marbles have very sparse human figurines whereas Phanigiri panels have abundance of the intermingling human figures. What is the core principle of the design in these compositions and how did they arrive here? Today the contemporary compositions are broken by a principle such as Gestalts theory of Visual perceptions where “The large picture is important than the sum of the smaller images”.  In ‘Nativity of Siddhartha’ Mayadevi who is the protagonist is of the same anatomical scale as her attendants and other character’s in the scene. It would have been easier to have the protagonist in an enlarged scale to emphasis her importance which is the case in later period sculpture of the Hindu tradition in Indian Sculpture. Drawing a parallel from the Mahabhinishkramana panel in the Amaravati collection it is to be observed that of all the characters in this scene are frozen in movement where the eye movement is so carefully designed to navigate the viewers’ attention to the central character Siddhartha on his horseback. Such precise calculation would be possible either by a grid based study of the composition or through spontaneous design. In either case it is still possible for us to analytically understand the layout of the panels in details and further classify the design elements.

Copyright State Archaeology Telangana

Copyright State Archaeology Telangana

Very peculiar are the standalone statues of Bodhisattva and Buddha carved out of a rich Limestone are now in a damaged state in the site museum in Phanigiri, Nalgonda Dist. The realistic rendering of the drapery and the robe are extraordinary carved with extreme intricate details to the standards of classical realism. Also it is to be mentioned that Phanigiri has no western influences just as its kin Amaravati. The Toranas which are the most valuable in the Phanigiri collections leave us with so many clues about the architecture of the Phanigiri Stupa.

Understanding culture of the antiquity through the sculptural remains is a straightforward approach practiced by archeologists, art historians, scholars and everyone else. A lot of information is derived from these sculpture panels the hair styles, attires, armor, livelihood, architecture, rituals, fauna and fauna. How much of it is true and what percentage of it is fictional is also open for debate. As there exists the probability of a superimposed decorum enforced by the directions of the patron. An example can be taken from the miniature commissions by the East India Company which had barren landscapes and minimal people depicted to befit the ideologies of the Ruling Class. Did the Buddhist patron of the Satavahana and Ishvaku Dynasties try to manipulate our sense of their kingdom though the Phanigiri panels or the obverse could be true? Though painting also functions as a vehicle it has limited scope of interpretation due to its two dimensional form and ephemeral medium which perishes sooner or later.

Phanigiri & Nagarjunakonda 4 both Buddhist monuments heavily rely on the sculptural capabilities to convey a narrative which has awestruck its audiences for centuries. The legacy of the sculptors of Phanigiri to create such a monument which is larger than life is remarkable and outstanding. Yet they never took the privilege of inscribing their name on the slabs which could be either an act of humility or a restriction by the donor.


 1 The Amaravati School is a different type of art form evolved and flourished for nearly six centuries commencing from 200100
BC Patronized first by the Satavahanas and later by the Ikshvakus. It occupies a preeminent position in the history of Indian Art with its beginning in 3rd century BC.
2 The Elgin Marbles are a collection of Classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural pieces that were part of the temple of Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens.
3 Ramappa gudi also known as the Ramalingeswara temple is located 77 km from Warangal, the ancient capital of the Kakatiya dynasty, 157 km from Hyderabad in the state of Telangana in southern India.

Translations | Emergent Art Space, San Francisco , Jan 20th- Feb 20th, 2015

LIVE EXHIBITION  ) Jan 20th – Feb 20th (

Dynamo, Aluminium & Sandstone, Harsha V Durugadda

Dynamo, Aluminium & Sandstone

‘Dynamo’  will be exhibited as part of the show titled ‘Translations’ by Emergent Art Space (Hosted by the Art Department of Reed College in Portland, Oregon) from January 20 – Febuary 20, 2015

Here’s the Curatorial Note:

Trans-lating: to bring across, to transfer, to transport, to make understandable in another language, to make accessible to another culture.

Translating from one language to another, from one expressive medium to another.

Translations as a way to expand our understanding, to facilitate communication. Translations as a pressing issue in contemporary society that is connected yet divided. Both globally and locally, in our communities and in our personal lives.

What is lost in translation and what is found?

Translations as a pressing issue in contemporary society that is connected yet divided. Both globally and locally, in our communities and in our personal lives. What is lost in translation and what is found? Courtesy: http://emergentartspace.org/translations-online/#&panel1-1

Invitation to ‘Cultural Coalition’ a group show in London

Find below an E Invitation and the curatorial statement of my group show titled ‘Cultural Coalition ‘ in London by Plastic Propaganda, UK on from July 14th – 25th, 2014.


Cultural Coalition, London , July 14th-25th


Visions of Mughal India, Howard Hodgkin’s collection of Indian Art which he amassed over a half a century went on show at the Ashmolean Museum Oxford in 2012. The Ashmolean interviewed Hodgkin on the eve of this and commented: “Hodgkin’s interest in Indian art began in adolescence under the tutelage of an art master at Eton, Wilfred Blunt. India, when he began visiting in 1964, must have been a stunning contrast after grey England. Hodgkin’s collection, each work chosen for its ‘intensity of feeling – a shot in the heart’, and with a painter’s eye, is among the most distinguished in the world (Ashmolean Museum publication). With great respect for all Indian culture and with this quotation in mind, Plastic Propaganda is show-casing the coalition between the UK and India. India is in a naissance stage of Contemporary Art; we have observed many differences and many similarities between the two cultures and hope you enjoy the juxtaposition between the two. We hope also that you will see here a continuance of the “intensity of feeling – a shot in the heart” with which so many artists reflect their own culture.

The UK has a ‘special relationship’ with India which is based on strong ties of shared history, and by a cultural bond that has been richly celebrated in art, literature, film and music for generations.
Despite 60 years of independence, the UK and India still have this special connection, which is intensified through the movement of people. The colonial links and the shared language encouraged a constant movement of people from India to the UK, even prior to independence. The continued flow means that people of Indian origin are today the largest ethnic minority group in the UK. There are over 1 million people of Indian origin in the UK making up almost 25% of the UK’s ethnic minority population. At a social level, the links that the UK shares with India are very deep and important but these links have not always translated into a shared outlook. For some, the relationship is still overshadowed by the memory of the Raj and the need for atonement for historic wrongs committed; ill-treatment of ordinary people in India, the arrests and massacres of those who demanded democracy and independence, the man-made famines and the economic exploitation.
This complicated relationship therefore raises many political and ethical questions – some of which have been addressed by the contributing artists in this show.

Angus Pryor apryor@glos.ac.uk
William Henry williamhenry16@btinternet.com
Plastic Propaganda Limited http://www.plasticpropaganda.co.uk

Performance Art / Live Art

Fly | Performance

Performance Art became accepted as a medium of artistic expression in it’s own right in the 1970’s. At that time conceptual art which insisted on an art of ideas over product or skill, and on art that could not be bought and sold was in its heyday and performance was often a demonstration or an execution, of those ideas. Performance thus became the most tangible art form of the period. Art spaces devoted to performance sprang up in the major international art centers, museums sponsored festivals, art colleges introduced performance courses, and specialist magazines appeared.

It was during this period that the history of performance was published(1979). There was a long tradition of artists turning to live performance as one means among many of expressing their ideas and that such events played an important part in the history of art. It is interesting that performance until that time had been left out in the process of evaluating artistic development, especially in the modern period, more on account of the difficulty of placing it in the history of art than of any deliberate omission.

For artists did not merely use performance as a means to attract publicity to themselves.Performance has been considered as a way of bringing to life the many formal and conceptual ideas on which the making of art is based. Live gestures have been constantly been used as a weapon against the conventions of established art .

“…Performance is the moment when the performer with his own idea step in his own mental physical construction in front of the audience in particular time. This is not a theatre. (In)Theatre you repeat, (in) theatre you play somebody else…performance is real. In theatre you cut with a knife and there is blood, and the knife is not real and the blood is not real. In performance, the blood and the knife and the body of the performer is real…Performance is a kind of unique form of art and it is very temporary and it comes and goes. In every society it has a different relation to performance…”

-Marina Abramovic

Having explained performance art though the words of Roselee Goldberg above I now would like to take you through my work in performance art from the initial days.

Timeline of my experiments with performance art have been laid out from my early works till recent. It is a recollection of my performance works.

Resonance Tapes, Delhi, 2012

Our endeavour in performing these pieces has to do with the urge to replenish the need to reconquer the freedom of expressions as humans. How we experience life is a blur, so we try and pause it through these experiential encounters. Space plays a pivotal role in defying and moulding how we believe, react and live.

Frozen Love, Delhi, 2012

Frozen Love was a public intervention where our mettle was tested in interacting with people. We create a situation where the audience feels submerged in our performance . By doing such a mundane activity so redundantly brought immediate chaos in the viewers head. An opportunity to look at life with a macro angle was possible by this intervention. The space I think plays a major role in site specific performances so did ours .

Killing Asim Wakif

Would killing a work mean killing the artist ?
This question raises new doubts and emotions . I killed a work by artist Asim Waqif and gave freedom to it to enjoy a conscious death. No separation exists between the inner and outer it is only for our human convenience that ” we divide and rule “.

Mending Broken Glass

Two channel video and sound
Projector or monitor installation.

Flying Down, Sarai, 2011

The performance was done as part of an ongoing series of performances titled “Harkat” at Sarai, Delhi. It involved me handing over empty balloons to fellow participants whom I had asked to fill it their breath . Breath for me symbolizes their life, ideas, thoughts and aspirations. With this I wanted to fly down deep into their worlds.

Nest, Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kerala, 2012

The hustle bustle of a bird building it’s nest is a flurry moment filled with a lot of labor. The labor here of building a nest is of extreme elegance and serene. The abandoned building in Fort Kochi was devoid of a nest I felt and built one for it. The nest I created is for those who respect the serendipity of life and its stupendous chaos. The nest is an embodiment of the time and the space within the context of the demographic . The site specific performance was a tribute to the beauty that withers and falls apart , an aesthetic that lies beneath all that glam and youthful shine.The residue of the performance is an installation which stands, no one knows how long ? .




An ant was dead due to international violence caused by a french butterfly which created a chain of events that led to a dog’s discomfort in turn started running madly in the process killed an ant. In a similar turn of events a hen was killed in a catastrophic incident caused by a Russian lady plucking a plant from her garden in Moscow which lead to a family in Delhi to celebrate hence opting to merrily eat chicken for their dinner.

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state. Insimple terms a slight vibration caused by a wing flap in Finland can cause a tsunami in kerala. Such a diverse system is ours and to be able to understand that is a moment of enlightenment.



Artists Without Boundaries, Delhi, 2012