On 20.06 this year I had again an art experience of a very special kind. An exhibition of the Indian artist Sheela Gowda in the Lenbachhaus. Right in the entrance area the artwork “WHERE COWS WALK” was hanging:
“The concept of using cow dung for a new work commissioned by Lenbachhaus was a deliberate one.“Source: Lehnbachhaus (Editor): Sheela Gowda. It .. Matters, München 2020.
„The idea was to lay down six jute “canvases” on the floor of a cowshed so that the cows would drop dung on them as they ate and wandered around. The cows walking over this surface would then imprint their hoofs on their own dung creating an organic landscape in this “collaboration”. The jute canvases were then dried over a period of time. The result, though it could not be exact to the execution method, are tapestries that highlight the surface of the mixture ofdung and hay, interspersed with faint markings of cow hoofs.“Source: Lehnbachhaus (Editor): Sheela Gowda. It .. Matters, München 2020.
What a brilliant idea. Seriously. Maybe a few guys might wrinkle their nose, perhaps thinking “I could have done that.” Or, alternatively, “So can my kids. It’s not art.” My response would be: “You didn’t do it because you didn’t have the idea.” And I would have swallowed the word „ignorant“. What fascinates me personally about modern art is the enormous variety of ideas, whether they’re large areas of color, abstract geometric shapes or simply potato sacks with cow shit. Back to “How Cows walk”. I also find the philosophy behind the creation really interesting:
„As a medium used by Sheela Gowda in response to the emerging political scene in the 1990s, cow dung has become almost an imperative in 2020 with lynching and communal vio-lence becoming the norm through cow vigilantism enabled through tacit political patronage in India.“Source: Lehnbachhaus (Editor): Sheela Gowda. It .. Matters, München 2020.
Have a look for yourself, the exhibition is really very interesting. Stay tuned.
More about visual arts…