2D or not 2D
Artist Suresh Dutt’s conceptual framework integrates drawing with sculpture. A translation of the two dimensional onto multiple three dimensional planes, so to speak. He applies and deconstructs geometric forms and grid structures into space and onto surfaces. Immersive sculptures are devised that explode into an unknown yet certain dimension.
Dutt prescribes a pragmatic approach to his creative endeavours. He provides efficient solutions which resolve the relationship between two and three dimensions. This analysis reaches a fait accompli – in the present – with his recent major work.
Winning the First@108 Public Award in 2011 enabled Dutt to create a sculpture outside the conventional confines of a white cube gallery space. The stereotypical artistic context with its three dimensional limitations is replaced by an exposed public space and all its embroiled complexities. To add a further layer to this contextual complexity, the sculpture was commissioned to inhabit two urban, but very distinct, built environments. The first (temporary) setting was in front of an Edwardian villa on Old Brompton Road, South Kensington. The second (permanent) setting is Montgomery Square in Canary Wharf.
An ornate red brick traditional enclosed backdrop in West London; a geometric mirrored contemporary exposed backdrop in East London. Dutt’s chromatic response is ingeniously simple. Paint it blue. An apparent simplicity of form – line drawn, no less (no more) – belies the intensity of his thought process. An hypothesis is presented to the viewer. He explains,
“When we view an object in space, we are able to gauge the scale of that object by using visual information surrounding that object and previously learned knowledge. We scale the object in relation to other objects the size of which we already know and comprehend. This information and understanding is essential when we draw a three dimensional object or convert an object into an image.”
Dutt contemplates that the visual effect of foreshortening can be used to create the illusion of depth on a two dimensional surface. This allows the drawing of the object to retain the same scale as the actual three dimensional object. He enthuses, “I wanted to construct a physical representation of foreshortening in three dimensional space through the drawing of a cube. The cube is the most easily perceived and recognised geometric structure.”
This desire stems from a concern about the way a person’s perception can be altered. An unorthodox paradox emerges. A parallel lined world arises. The starting point for him is something that is universally understood.
Immersed in art theory, Dutt applies anamorphosis, the principle method of manipulating perspective. Anamorphosis is a distorted projection or perspective which requires the viewer to use special devices or to occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute an image. Lines and shapes create an alternating perspective. It becomes impossible to retain the two and three dimensional aspects together in one view.
Dutt manipulates spatial perception to great effect in this sculpture. The viewer is left disorientated in self made illusions. It exclaims, “We know nothing about space!” Euclidian geometry and the assumption of space are questioned. Even the tense of the sculpture’s name, Drawing Cube Blue, exudes uncertainty in the dimension of time.
An equally brilliant and academic accompanying solo exhibition in the Salon Gallery of Dora House explores light and perception through reflection. Dutt’s ongoing fascination with the structure of the cube inspires the creation of objects of unsettling ambiguity. Visible yet invisible, physical but intangible, they exist where volume and surface collide.
His work will soon occupy a third type of space. Frenetic urbanity superseded by bucolic countryside, brownfield to greenfield, further afield a leftfield variation of Drawing Cube Blue will form part of a country house estate collection. Watch this space. Although Dutt may make us question if it is a space. Or even his field.