Yash Bhandari
bangaloREsident-Expanded@Lichtenberg Studios

yab ©Yash Bhandari Formally trained in sculpture, Yash Bhandari has explored performance art with 080 Loopholes Collective, explored sustainable architecture, farming and furniture design with SacredGroves at Auroville and has been a part of various citizen movements that have sharpened his creative agency. Having then moved to bridge tensions of working with the Government, for 3 years he worked with the public art project, Art in Transit, in the role of a Research Associate and co-curator in collaboration with the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation at various sites, to create dialogues through art and design inquiries that were directly shared with the transiting public.

Has been an active part of some street intervention with collectives like Geechugalu. By placing his practice in public spaces, he believes in using his privilege to share the contagious joy of creativity and creating opportunities for collaborations in public spaces.
“I enjoy challenging thought and constantly working with new networks and mediums, to unlearn biases I have picked up and work around similar thematics with my surrounding ecology using the medium of art practice for this introspection, all with a little room for irony and self critique.  My practice switches between community participation, urban interventions, performance, to spatial design, multimedia installation, curation and sculpture with found materials frequently as I attempt to work through their limitations and my own.”

At Lichtenberg Studios, Berlin, he will be creating mixed-media interventions in public spaces around the city and the neighbourhood of Lichtenberg.

Being part of the creative collective advocacy in Bengaluru’s communities helped inform my agency and practice. With the bangaloREsidency-Expanded initiative, I got the opportunity to test my individual capacity on the surface level at Lichtenberg Studios, Berlin.

The serendipitous bicycle journeys became my modus operandi. I found interesting sites camouflaged in the background of the social housing structures without announcing themselves as any spectacle - much the opposite of  the otherwise international cosmopolitan nature of Berlin.

Found material from parks were a way for me to disseminate information about the locality: where do the natural and aesthetic merge, and how much does their contrast in function say about their relationship. I foraged from mahonia shrubs on Orbsee Lake, making jam and marmalade was the only feasible idea which was shared later at the goodbye dinner, as a bitter-sweet dessert.

Constantly finding flowers jutting out of the fences that surrounded much of the residential and social housing areas helped me reflect poetically on the spirit of these neighbours, who, although highly guarded, opened up slowly and with kindness towards my being an other, when I interacted with them. A photograph print series of these were then installed at Rummelsberg S-Bahn Station.

As I moved around, I felt the growing resistance against gentrification in the locality and its inhabitants. The camouflage gentrification blocks that I made in the studio were used as temporary public sculptures, which moved around in a performative, playful way in various forms and situations, till blown apart by the wind or little pedestrians.

To keep the critical memory of the Stasi present in the public spaces, I chose to make interventions in the same medium as taggers, using elements and symbols from the Stasi prison and museum super imposed to form a commentary on the present memory or lack thereof in the public spaces which are tagged.

In retrospect, I am curious to understand what gets assimilated as memory, data, information, experience and what becomes knowledge, and for whom.

I am developing a video-based work in the form of self-surveillance over this slowly as an extension / reflection of my time in the residency.