February 01, 2012


Art Projects Zurich and Immaterialist artist Preeti Chandrakant issue a call to collectors and institutions, to go down in the history of art, as the first ever purchaser of a Living Work of Art. In this pioneering intervention, six Living Works of Art sculpted by Preeti Chandrakant, three from Europe and three from India, mingled with visitors at the India Art Fair 2012. Anoop Kamath writes about this interesting pieces of art.

In the 20th century Joseph Beuys said: ‘Everyone is an artist’. In the 21st century I say: ‘Everyone is a potential work of art’. Those willing to be sculpted, undergo a process of instruction before being declared a Living Work of Art.”

– Preeti Chandrakant

Preeti Chandrakant calls herself immaterialist. Immaterialism is a doctrine which says that physical things do not exist. It rejects dualism, neutral monism, and materialism; indeed, it is the contrary of eliminative materialism, the doctrine that only physical things, and no mental things, exist.

Six Living Works of Art sculpted by Preeti Chandrakant mingled with curious visitors at the India Art Fair and conversed with them about their experience involving the philosophy and technology underlying this new art form.

Dressed in green and pink overalls, their clothing in the front and back had the words: Talk to me! I’m a Living Work of Art by Preeti Chandrakant.

Living Works of Art fulfill the conventions of gallery and museum. They can be purchased, sold, and displayed.

The artist claimed that upon a historic first purchase, she will publicly describe the formalities of such a transaction, including terms and conditions, packaging, insurance, resale and auctioning of Living Works of Art.

Zurich and Mumbai-based conceptual artist Preeti Chandrakant refers to herself as a first generation Immaterialist. She is the first artist worldwide to create, display and sell, Living Works of Art.

Chandrakant took her early informal lessons in art from the likes of Achille Bonito Oliva, Brion Gysin, Meret Oppenheim and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Her work has premiered at the Art Basel, the Palais Palffy in Vienna, the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, the Locarno International Film Festival, the Trento International Film Festival, the Festival Max Ophüls Preis, and the Mumbai International Film Festival among others. Chandrakant has won prizes and numerous grants in Switzerland and Italy, for work, which critics have varyingly described as ‘futuristic’, ‘dadaistic’ and ‘hypnotic’.

From the very beginning of her artistic practice, Chandrakant has explored individual transformative processes, while tracing the trajectory of art creating itself – from dense matter, in her early stone sculpture, to her current pioneering work which takes the form of Living Works of Art and Time Pieces.

In interactive happenings, close to a hundred of which have taken place since 2002, Chandrakant ‘sculpts’ humans. These happenings, inspired by Chandrakant’s seminal phrase ‘Everyone is a Potential Work of Art’, have often lasted five days and nights.

“Years ago, I saw in Venice a statue completely covered with white gook. It occurred to me then, that, if all those pigeon droppings were chiseled away, the statue would suddenly walk to its freedom. Extrapolated to the Living Works of Art, this is what I'm doing.

“Living Works of Art are human beings whose thinking has been made more precise, whose seeing has been made more aware, whose hearing has been sharpened, whose touch has been trained to respond to the subtlest of stimuli, whose tasting has been refined, whose smelling has been heightened, whose sensing has been awoken, whose very materiality has become aware of itself”.

Although Art Projects Zürich has not revealed the price of the Artworks, one can safely assume that the pieces were amongst the most expensive at the India Art Fair.

There are four interested buyers to buy this living art and negotiations are under way. However it does not seem that any of the persons involved will be in a position to fulfill the stringent terms and conditions.

One interested buyer, who has not yet been contacted, was the Mumbai based designer Pinakin Patel.