Rajendra talks to Punya about his mobile sculptures that were shown in Corfu Buddha Hall a short while ago.
Residents and visitors in Arillas were surprised at the beginning of this month by an unusual event: an art exhibition! The seed was sown, as they say, at a dinner table on a Saturday night. Chantal introduced Rajendra to Sophia and remembered that he was the architect of Buddha Hall, just up behind them.
“What are you up to now?”
“I make mobile sculptures with driftwood.”
“Where could I see them?”
“Come for a coffee tomorrow at 3.”
When Chantal, who is herself an artist and sculptor, saw the mobiles she was inspired to show them. Since he is the architect of Buddha Hall, she thought they should be shown there – full circle.
“Would it be okay if I organized something?”
As the sculptures look like dancers, the way they move in space, it was an easy jump to put contemporary dancer Evi in the equation. She was thrilled by the idea of this unusual production. The music was chosen, a quick rehearsal, some concerns overcome… “It all went very fast. There was a big yes from everybody,” says Chantal. “What I also liked about this project was that it brought two generations together – the two artists, and also people in the audience.”
Rajendra came to my office today to choose the photos for the slide show – from the beautiful series taken by Tex.
How did you start making mobiles?
My daughter loves Christmas, and I am always eager to get a present for her. I can’t really afford to buy anything that would be extraordinary, so started to make something myself. One year I was thinking about what to make for her, and when I closed my eyes I saw a mobile in front of me.
The next day, walking on the beach I found a few pieces of wood, took them home, hung the bigger one up and then added the other pieces that would be hanging down from it. And I saw them moving… How they would dance around each other… How they connected with each other… And how I connected with each piece… I had never made anything like this before and hadn’t seen anything similar anywhere else either.
Some of the pieces I then painted in black and highlighted in white the bits where they were cut. This gave them more definition, an accent. But the top part I left as I found it. This first one took me three to four weeks to make.
When I showed it to my friend Om, who is a Zen gardener, he liked it very much. This gave me the encouragement to make more. Then Ganga one day suggested I use some colour, so then I made a few using red or blue. Like for instance Ganesha which has red and blue elements, or The Father with its red elements. Once I made one where some parts I painted as if on canvas, with colours flowing into each other. I also like to leave many of the elements in their natural colour, not even varnished.
Tell me more about finding the material and about the creative process?
I’ll write it as a poem, that’s easier than to talk about it.
And here it is:
When purposelessly strolling on the beach
It happens that I often reach
For a twig or root… with – for example – curious bends,
And touch the sea-treated wood with my hands.
It stays there for a while with me
A special form, a piece from a tree.
And as I walk
It begins to talk.
About its past as it lived in a dome
With big green leaves, like a home
With other twigs, branches and flowers
Withstanding winds and stormy showers.
It was growing and growing happily bigger and then…
The whole tree was cut
Because maybe someone needed a hut?
Left over and lying loose
Is the twig which I choose
At home I hang it from the ceiling
And I wait and look
And suddenly I get the feeling
And then… I am hooked.
I sit there, look at one of the pieces and then say, “Oh this has to be cut off.” I kind of follow my aesthetic sense. This goes on and on; sometimes I hang them upside down, then suddenly at one point, “Okay, I’m finished with it for now.” I go for a rest or don’t look at it anymore, but when I get back to it later, something happens and the whole thing becomes something that I recognise. It starts to talk to me.
For the mobile The Watcher, for instance, there was this little piece… I held it in my hands, then placed it on my table. A really nice piece. I turned it from side to side – it could be used to hold pencils maybe, or just living on your desk for fun. When I later worked on a big root I looked up and saw that first bit on the table – it looked like a little bird sitting there. It watches, you know, like you see birds sitting silently, looking – as they do. This is how it became part of that one mobile, and why I called it then, The Watcher.
Art for me is an energetic phenomenon, it’s a magic phenomenon. This is why I gave the video I made a while ago the title, Magic Roots. It’s a home video but it shows the mobiles in movement. I also made some music to go with it.
Do you often look at your mobiles?
Yes, in the morning; I sit and look at them while I have my coffee and listen to Osho. I watch them revolving slowly in the soft draft. They move by themselves. Just looking at them I start to relax and forget my mind. That’s why I like to make them.
Would you like to show the mobiles to the public again?
Buddha Hall is is not really an exhibition place because it has no walls. We would need a place that has white backgrounds, then you see them well – maybe even have little devices on the ceiling that move them. But I like the idea of a performance with a dancer, similar to what Evi did – she was very good and sensitive – maybe even more silent, with softer music and very slow movements. Maybe I can get something together in Berlin. I already have the title for it: Silence.
Did you like the idea of having them hanging in the trees?
Yes, I liked that. There is always a breeze to move them. And as Srajano said, “Here they are at home.”
Are you ready to let go of them and sell them?
Sure, I have so many now. There are too many in my small apartment, but to let go of them is also difficult. They all have become a little bit like my family.
Do you have more material to make more mobiles?
Oh, yes, my balcony is stacked with finds – a mess I tell you – awaiting further new creations…