‘Kuukan – Space; is the limitation of one and the opportunity of another’

Eiffel O’Seven is a choreography of contrasts.

Movement and stillness are an integral part of the dance of life and Shibu’s new work personifies this contrast.
Architecture had seemed like a dead space until one day, in ‘seeing’ the 4th dimension of time; the inherent movement in the same seemed like a Zen whack in the head.
Whether it is the rhythm in repetition, the element of analogue in the linearity, the composition of space and time, the distortions, the interplay of colour and starkness, monochromatic hues birthing innumerable relationships with the imagery, the series reiterates the permanence of transformation and movement.

Empty space penetrated by light, filling itself with itself.

Yang is born of the Yin and expands until it dissolves into the Yin again.
The Eiffel tower is a powerful image of both the obvious masculine associations and of implicit feminity. The polarities, the Lingam and the Yoni, the still and the dynamic.
The photography seems to caress the architecture and the subsequent play of colour and ‘non-colour’ allowing us to drift into the empty spaces, the spaces that are not obvious and there is born the idea of creating our own stories as we look at another series on one of the world’s most photographed buildings.

On a lighter note, despite its solidity, the Eiffel tower like parts of Gaudi’s Sagrada de familia reminds one of the under belly of a fantastical creature, ready to take off! Shibu too has utilised a childlike curiosity in treating some of the imagery.

Shibu’s approach, apart from being fiercely personal, reflects his sensitivity and originality. One is quietly struck by the varied dimensions the series takes on.

The innovative battle formations of Alexander the Great comes to mind when viewing this series. Alexander’s ingenuity in merging existing ideas with vision and creativity on the battlefield by the deployment of the Vanguard, penetrating deep into enemy lines, rounding off, closing back in on the enemy, while the light infantry are let loose on the enemy flanks.

A definite victory, a choreography of bloodshed.

Eiffel O’seven transforms from white to red leaving an impression of dissolution. And from dissolution arises a new birth, and it is in this fragmentation and distortion that Shibu’s perception, his space breathes.

Japanese Martial Art, like Dance, is about space, the giving space, the space that has room for more, and a space that is always left imperfect.

The imperfection is what gives birth to spontaneity and change.
Space, whether occupied or unoccupied, can therefore be an opening for peace or a shield from harm. And this idea echoes in Shibu’s juxtaposition of geometry, asymmetry, and imbalance.

A breathing space for our imaginations, our imperfections, and our own choreographies.

Madhu Nataraj
Nikolaj Kielland

Bangalore | August 2008

Madhu Nataraj is a Kathak/Contemporary dancer and choreographer and the artistic director of the Natya stem Dance Kampni.She performs, designs projects, and is a panellist on important arts and academic institutions worldwide.Her signature style is collaborative and she believes that tradition and modernity need to coexist and this ideology reflects in her dance idiom.Nikolaj Kielland is India’s only 10th Dan Black Belt in Bujinkan Ninjutsu, under the tutelage of Grand Master Masaaki Hatsumi of Japan. Despite a Masters in International Affairs he chooses to live the ideology and life of a martial artist, a life that is about existing in the space in between.He teaches and collaborates, utilising Ninjutsu as a medium of expression.

Shibu ArakkalEiffel O’Seven – Foreword