When the Isar joins the Vrishabavathi
During their stay in the Bavarian state capital, six Indian artists from the Double Road exchange project ask about similarities and differences between Bangalore and Munich. It is all about political co-determination and urban resources. Their works can now be viewed at three places in Munich.
The sound of running water can be heard in the middle of the cool exhibition space in the MaximiliansForum. The rapidly flowing waves of a river, the Isar, appear on a screen. The video projection is by the Indian painter and filmmaker Bhavani G S. In her eight-minute film River of My City & Isar, she compares the waterway through Munich with the Vrishabavathi of her home region, which supplies drinking water to Bangalore. Growing industry has polluted the Vrishabavathi, but it still has spiritual and religious meaning for many people of India.
The film River of My City & Isar by Bhavani G S. | Photo: Nikolaus Gottschalk
Between Munich and BangaloreBhavani G S is one of six Indian artists from the unique artist exchange project Double Road. For six weeks, she was a guest in the Bavarian state capital, where she worked and got to know the local art and cultural scene. Her works – sculptures, installations and paintings – have been on show since June not just at the MaximiliansForum, but also at the whiteBOX art gallery and the Kunstpavillon im Alten Botanischen Garten.
The opening of the exhibition "Double Road". | Photo: Nikolaus Gottschalk
Collaboration and mutual exchangeThe exchange project was initiated by six Munich artists who themselves were the guests of the bangaloREsidency of the Goethe-Institut in Bangalore. “We wanted to enable the experiences we had with our Indian hosts here in Munich,” says Ralf Homann, one of the co-founders. In 2017, they invited their first six Indian guests. “We make our studios and work possibilities available to them and they can make use of our networks. But we also see our role as co-producers of the works created here because we also provide our production facilities.”
Unlike a traditional artist residency, Double Road is particularly focused on artistic exchange and mutual contacts. “The artists that we invite are not working for themselves alone, but closely with their hosts,” explains Homann.
Bhavani G S and Ralf Homann | Photo: Nikolaus Gottschalk
Water supply and public spaceDespite cultural differences, the similarities between Bangalore and Munich dominate – especially with regard to artistic questions. “These are questions about urban resources, such as the water supply or the public space. Who is in charge of it, who can use it and how does good urban development work? But questions of political and local co-determination are also important for the Indian as well as the German artists.”
Double Road is a pilot project. But it will not be the only art exchange between Bangalore and Munich. “The project is designed for the long term and thus to be repeated. All that matters is that we open our studios and provide our work to enable mutual processes and collaborations,” says Homann.