Ekaterina’s Part of Bon Voyage exhibition in The Cube Gallery, Goa, India.
Curator Elvina Halli
Hollow marine vessels, assembled from wood and steel planks, nailed and welded at the joints, resemble configurations of bone and muscle. In their diverse formats, whether military battalions or fishing boats, they espouse human idiosyncrasies and represent a warehouse of human experience.
Their untethered course across the element of water signifies the universality of life – a force that facilitates the journey but overpowers and transcends it.
In Bon Voyage, contemporary artists, Ekaterina Sisfontes and Sonny Singh collaboratively construct a unique visual narrative of multi-media watercrafts. Reimagined boats, barges, ships, rafts and submarines signify objective nodes of life such as birth, destiny and death as well as subtle components of human identity such as dreams, happiness and beauty.
Paradoxes fingerprint human existence much like the wake of a marine vehicle. Hence, each installation embodies illusory dualities that frame greed against drudgery, vanity against mortality and frailty against fortitude.
Russian-born, Swedish artist, Sisfontes, traveled extensively by sea and studied the philosophical nature of marine voyages. Over a four-week residency at Cube Gallery, the artist introspects this expedition as a series of boats that represent the deep solitude of mortal life.
Sisfontes holds these internal sojourns Mind Ship, against the infinite continuum of life, Eternity Boat. Between these primary ports of the mind and eternity, she charts the dynamic intersection of free-will, Boat of Hope, existential gambles, Boat of Fortune and pre-determined stations, Destiny Boat.
Curatorial text: Elvina Halli
Flattened, folded, creased and cajoled paper vessels wafting across backyard puddles and potholes constitute the earliest and most emboldened memory of wishful adventure. These makeshift wanderers symbolize a childhood manifesto of spirited defiance and untainted wonder. Paper boats are the beginning of the human journey – they anchor childhood whimsy and sail with the first wave of a future nostalgia.
Predetermined factors such as our place of origin and family structures form hard-lined lenses that color perspective and choice. A boat sails at the mercy of the sea, just as human will is limited by unchangeable circumstances. The artist envisions The Destiny Boat, as a skeletal vessel, platooned by tide and time.
This container vessel houses a triumvirate of mounds that represent a cosmic diagram of belief systems and decision maps. The mind, influenced by destined forces, deliberates and executes a free will, thus, dictating both the function and purpose of individual life.
Charting dark waters mortality hangs ominously suspended between the end of physical life and the unknowable continuation of a universal cycle. The split ship signifies the end of life. Yet, the stationed lifeboat, implies an onward journey. The artist imagines death as a by-product of existence but does not surrender to its finality, imagining instead that sunken boats and vanquished lives are vessels moving onward across a shadowed continuum.
Barges are the “mules of the sea”, transporting heavy loads from one port to another in sustained monotony. They embody the pragmatism of life’s burdens and the function of living. They exist dutifully and banefully in conjunction with all human endeavor.
Sailing as a skeletal hope of preservation against catastrophe, the Ark represents renewal. Simultaneously, the vessel’s bleak reflection in floodwaters echoes a resounding sense of loss. Sisfontes likens the act of procreation to survival – a delicate practice of self-sustenance that is a testament to mortality as much as life.
Hope marks an intangible, positive energy that fuels mental convictions. Throughout the human journey, hope waxes and wanes in the face of success, failure, love and heartbreak. The artist envisions hope as a raft, a frail and minimal vessel, that grants proof of life but forebodes inevitable disappointment.
The solitude of a marine vessel or a human life against the vastness of the ocean or time, probe existential questions about the finitude of life. Eternity is both a metaphysical and imaginative voyage. The anchored ship represents a life bound to time. In reverse, the same ship seems to transcend time altogether, sailing beyond its mortal confines. The artist, thus, interprets eternity as a blurred line between the inevitable end and the possibility of everlasting life.
THE BOAT OF FORTUNE
Fortune bodes both risk and reward. Bets and estimates underline all human choices. This boat, weighed down by a net of gold and silver ingots, represents the trappings of ambition, the gamble of chance and the unpredictable manner in which, fortune or misfortune, can momentously alter the trajectory of life.
The submerged or subconscious mind is an ever-present and silent actor, chronicling knowledge, memory, and emotion. With a unique and elusive view of the active mind, the subconscious lies immune to time, destiny and free will. Yet, in its repressed lair, it is an honest, self-reliant arsenal of idiosyncratic life. Sisfontes raises a slice of subconscious thought to eye level, recreating the keyhole view that humans hold of their own submerged cognition.