Kolkata: With technology elevating the application of art to diverse backdrops, celebrated French light painter and graffiti artist Marko 93 believes India has a huge potential for ‘MonuLighting’ (monumental light painting) – literally painting with light on monuments – which could heighten awareness about India’s heritage and bring the people together.
In India on his third trip, Marko 93 is splashing colours across 10 Indian cities to showcase a fun and relatively new art form called light painting where artists use hand-held light sources such as flashlights, camera flashes and spotlights to paint lit up images on to a scene, similar to graffiti on walls.
“There is a huge potential in India, because people are very receptive and motivated to do MonuLighting. Furthermore, light is universal, it brings people together.
“There are so many interesting sites in India that one could do an infinite number of performances,” Marko 93 told IANS in an email interaction when quizzed on the scope of light-painting and MonuLighting in India. The UN International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies is being observed in 2015.
Marko said the final result is a photograph but it’s the “shared experience” that matters in MonuLighting since a group of artists go around daubing living spaces and monuments with light at night-time.
Instead of closed studios, open areas and structures serve as a canvas for light painters and the activity is a performance in itself.
Marko 93 first visited India to discover the country and practise his art and on his next trip, he toured for a dance performance and light-painting with Bharatanatyam dancers in real-time video.
Credited with re-inventing light painting in France, where he is into institutional or commercial lighting performances, Marko 93 has an affinity for working on Indian temples.
“MonuLighting allows you to create works in old monuments and spaces, to bring colour and shapes without damaging the place and respecting it.
“I love creating light in really ancient Indian temples. I have great admiration for the people who built these magnificent monuments and it is an honor for me to create around them and in them, he said.
In Kolkata, the iconic Princep Ghat, built in 1843, formed the subject for Marko’s MonuLighting project organised by Alliance Francaise du Bengale and other partners.
“Light-painting is increasingly present in advertising and communication. MonuLighting being a collective performance, it helps us to unite, French and Indian, around a common artistic project to obtain a monumental work of quality! There is the photographic result but also the shared experience together,” he said.
Shedding light on the urban art technique, a mix of digital photography and software, Marko 93 says he harnesses the light available in his painting site to develop images on photographic media or real-time video.
“I paint with light in the space around me on photographic media or real-time video. As for photography, I shoot with a long exposure time thanks to a digital camera. For real-time video, I use a software, specially created for that. I paint with all kinds of lights that I make or buy in the market. For MonuLighting, the end result will be a photograph,” he explained.
Describing India as “many countries within a single country”, Marko 93, who grew up in Saint-Denis, a historical, working class suburb north of Paris, feels inspired by “everything” in this country, old and modern.
Lighting up the world with his art, Marko has been to Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia China, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Panama and the US, as also to Europe, among others.
But are there any concerns on amalgamating technology with art?
“We must move with the times. Technology opens up additional fields of application for our art. Technology must serve art without making us slaves of technology,” he said.
First Published | 6 November 2015 1:05 PM