One Breath is the latest series of works by Gayatri Gamuz. A symphony of colors and organic forms made of watercolors and oil paintings.
This series of paintings is an abstract view of togetherness in the face of crisis. The COVID pandemic and 2020s crises prompted this collection, as Gayatri was struggling with the idea that an epidemic could unite humanity.
'One Breath is a statement of love, the Universal Love that persists no matter what. This love is omnipresent and everlasting.
Breathing marks the beginning and the end of human life, and it is so common that, from a western perspective, usually, one barely pays attention to it. In the past years, two facts made the act of breathing remarkable: the COVID pandemics and the murder of George Floyd in the USA in May 2020. The phrase "I can’t breathe" became not only the cry for the help of a Black man who was cowardly assassinated by a White police officer but also the moan of millions who got affected by this aggressive virus. Before Floyd’s execution, another death shook the world for different reasons. When Ezio Bosso, an Italian composer, and musician, died of neurological disease at the age of 48, many people were brought to tears. Gayatri Gamuz was one of the people affected by this rare loss. She listened to Six Breaths which was Ezio Bosso’s last album released in 2017 and divided into six sections with six forms of breaths: Drawing breath, out of breath, crying breath, in one ́́ breath, under one ́́ breath, and last breath. The songs were originally commissioned as choreography for Rafael Bonachela’s dance spectacle at Sydney Dance Company in 2010.
Over ten years after the debut of the Six Breaths show the album turned into Gayatri’s soundtrack for her new series of works called One Breath, featuring a symphony of colors and organic forms made of watercolors and oil paintings. In each work, we feel fluidity, lightness, and tenderness as we sense in Bosso’s songs. It is not a visual translation but a kind of new collaboration—a conversation where I am also in dialogue with Italian thinker Franco “Bifo” Berardi that wrote 'Breathing: Chaos and Poetry' which helped me find words to write about this mesmerizing body of paintings. For instance, he notes that “rhythm refers not only to vocal emissions or to the sound of acoustic matter but also the vibration of the world. Rhythm is the most vibration of the cosmos. And poetry (as well as art) is an attempt to tune into this cosmic vibration—this temporal pulse that keeps coming and coming and coming”.
These canvases vibrate, and sometimes we can notice bubbles or cells. We can see organisms here and there who are reacting with each other or not. Even when there is only one figure, there seems to be a transformation taking place. The fragility of these paintings reminds us of how fragile the world is - life, breathing, everything.
In times of uncertainty, we need to find a new way to realize. Bifo reaffirms the importance of poetry, which shows multiple pathways and encourages us. The poetical act sheds light on the unexplored and unconventional meaning of our reality. With more experience in those previously unconscious spaces, we can understand what is not yet experienced.
Henri Bergson argues that time is determined by one’s consciousness of duration. Time is the objectivation of a biological organism’s act of breathing, and it’s a continuum. We can concatenate singular durations into society, therefore creating a shared time frame. Gayatri Gamuz ́́ creates paintings that teach us how to breathe again, be reborn and live in different rhythms.
Curatorial note by Cristiana Tejo
Born in Spain in 1966, Gayatri Gamuz is an India based artist. She lives in her farm at the foot of the sacred hill of Arunachala in Tiruvannamalai.
Gayatri’s works, mostly watercolours and oils, draw from the source of oriental abstraction inspired by eastern philosophy as well as from contemporary western minimalism. Her work is based on the philosophical understanding of ‘Oneness’; the ultimate, indivisible reality which manifests in all things. In her words: ‘Through stillness I understand the oneness, and inside this process I paint’. The silence and emptiness in Gayatri’s paintings capture the eye with a mysterious attraction and embraces the viewer in the present moment.
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