Since 2016, Genie Poretzky-Lee has been exploring the saree fabric as her medium to make paintings as well as ‘Spheres’ a three-dimensional expression that has been inspiring her for some time. Through this latest installation ‘Shakti’, Genie is attempting to involve the viewer directly through their sense of vision and smell in celebration of the feminine energy. She talks to NT BUZZ
Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
Since 2016, Genie Poretzky-Lee has been exploring the saree as her medium to make paintings as well as ‘spheres’ a three-dimensional expression that has been inspiring her for some time now.
Through her latest installation, ‘Shakti’ which was exhibited at MOG, Pilerne, Genie is attempting to involve the viewer directly through their sense of vision and smell in celebration of the feminine energy. Genie tells us that in ‘Dressing the Void’ she stretches the saree over canvas which becomes the catalyst to the painting process. This results in a series of small acrylic paintings that celebrate both, the feminine and masculine through the use of, at times, the lungi fabric.
The other part ‘Winding the Void’ consists of wrapping strips of cloth around a core – in this instance mainly a coconut – slowly evolving into spherical objects. She says: “Singularly wrapped spheres are not perfectly shaped. Like Earth, their dimples are synonymous with making, therefore retaining an impact of the process.” The third part is ‘Containing the Void’. Here she uses a suspended cloth landscape background.
Telling us more about why she chose to explore and use the saree cloth as her main medium to make paintings and spheres she says that since in India, from times immemorial textile has served as a background for painting, it seemed quite natural for her to use saree fabrics when addressing feminine energies. Also cotton sarees are very user-friendly when being stretched, which is an important technical advantage.
Sarees are quite fascinating, especially when you have so many types of them in a diverse country like India. Genie says: “The rich colours and designs were a constant inspiration.”
In an attempt to keep her installations as perceived, she preferred using simple inexpensive cotton saree fabric sourced in Goa and Mumbai. Talking about how she managers to engage viewers directly through their sense of vision and smell, Genie tells us that she uses physical spices and indirectly implies a story within the spheres. “They reveal themselves slowly asking a certain involvement from the viewer- participation,” she says.
Previously Genie has worked on several exhibitions and installations including creating videos and publications of her works. For her spheres are worlds. While on one hand they are like planets, revolving in space; they have their own oceans and continents, mountains and canyons; they are little Gaias (in Greek mythology, Gaia is a personification of the Earth), intensely alive. Concealing seeds within themselves, some of them (after several months of apparent dormancy) have even begun to sprout shoots like living trees. On the other hand, they are like thought-forms, measuring and meditating on the passage of time.
Talking about her experience about working on ‘Shakti’ she says that her love and interest in Indian culture through many years, is what spurn her on. “I have travelled in the country and followed the wisdom through the teachings of early philosophers and looked at Indian art on the way. It was always my deep trust in the feminine – the part of India which was expressed through my works.”