Light Leaks, winds meet where the waters spill deceit, 2008-2010

Installation view , Kulturhuset, Stockholm

Light leaks, winds meet where the waters spill deceit
metal, sacred thread, fly zapper with UV fluorescent tubes and electrified grid
85 x 173 x 20 in. I 216 x 439 x 50 cm (h x l x b)

A poetic exploration of the violence of borders, Light Leaks, winds meet where the waters spill deceit takes the shape of the Wagah-Attari border pass between Pakistan and India. Once the only road connection between two hostile nations, the border pass is a charged site where every evening two sets of gates are opened and emphatically closed in an elaborate combative ritual carried out by army personnel on either side. Cheering crowds of tourists gather on podiums on either side to witness this daily theatre in which displays of aggressive masculinity take the place of actual violence that is carried out elsewhere.

The artist dramatically closes the immeasurable distance that lies between the Indian and Pakistani gates at Wagah by merging them into a single doorway. The gates are covered by crimson wish-fulfilling threads routinely tied by the pious on trees and trellises at Hindu and Islamic shrines on both sides of the border. Meant to be untied when the wish is granted, the threads descend down the gates like gnarled roots, alluding to the shared past of a people now separated by political boundaries. If the threads symbolise inseparable ties and the hope for peace, the crevice between the gates holds a hidden spectre of violence. White light streams seductively through it, emitted by a fly zapper ready to singe those risking a surreptitious border crossing.

Acknowledgement: Solanki Metal
preparatory study