- Peter A. Nagy
(b Bangalore, Nov 9, 1956).
Indian photographer and performance artist. Pushpamala abbreviated her family name, a standard custom in South India, and she has refused to disclose what the N. stands for. She received a degree in economics, English and psychology from Bangalore University and then studied sculpture at the M.S. University in Baroda, in the western Indian state of Gujarat (1985). Her early works, mostly in terracotta, were figurative, resembling dolls and puppets and often arranged in groups. By the mid-1990s she was experimenting with found objects and with crafting objects by hand. Among her most successful works of this period was Labyrinth (1994; see 2004 exh. cat.); a circle of charred wooden sandals, such as those usually worn by holy men in India, implying a cyclical connection between religion and violence.
In 1996 Pushpamala embarked on what she referred to as ‘photo-performances’. These were elaborately staged scenarios in which she played the lead role, sometimes joined by other actors and almost always dramatically filmed. While indebted to Cindy Sherman’s ...