Saturday, 14 March 2009

Multiple Perspectives

This painting is a tourist map. At first glance it is all confusion, and I didn't know which way to turn my head. But a longer look revealed an immensely practical, informative map for pilgrims to the temple complex of the Pushti Marg sect.

Whole map

It is full of detailed directions, easily understood and remembered. Go through these arches, it says, and you will be in a paved courtyard with this rather complex layout. The office you require is down this narrow passage, attended by a guard. You will be walking towards a domed tower.

Courtyard

Walk along the outer wall to your right, and you will reach another entrance with a windowed tower. Follow the paved pathway to a certain temple.

Entrance with tower

Behind this feature in the outer wall, with two towers, is a water garden. Its entrance is here.

Garden

The central shrine, where the cow festival is held, is entered through the door adorned with elephants, in a square courtyard with an earthen floor.

Central shrine

It's a fascinating use of multiple perspectives; we looked at it for quite a while.

The exhibition is Krishna & Devotion — Temple Hangings from Western India at Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1. It's a collection of devotional hangings used by the Western Indian Krishna sect, Pushti Marg, and some paintings connected with them and with the temple complex as a place of pilgrimage. It's £2.50 to get in. Asia House is a cultural charity and probably doesn't have much of a budget. The exposition is only the barest description of how these works are used and what is depicted in them; it doesn't cover any technical details or relate them to any wider artistic traditions. But there was a well-informed attendant, and a catalogue is on sale.

2 comments:

Tango commuter said...

Many thanks for posting that and for guiding us through it. What a beautiful piece of work! Multiple perspectives, as you say, so the artist shows us not only what is seen but what needs to be known. It really resembles an interactive display: there's so much information you could almost click your way through it with a mouse, stop and pan round the water garden. It's totally practical and it looks wonderful too. Thanks, I'm looking forward to going to see it.

msHedgehog said...

I thought you would like it :). Personally I'm stunned by the performance of my new camera - it would have been far too dark in there for my SLR, and all these are blowups from a single shot. It's an amazing little bit of kit.