Human beings are a collection of contradictions. We are a collection of contradictions. And it’s not a far stretch to see that the human experience is essentially an outcome of that fact. Everything we do, everything we bring to life, everything we imagine and create AND everything we don’t, are all part and parcel of the same animal. And it is an animal, try as we may, can but partially tame. Try to reign in the individual and the collective breaks down. Tame the collective and defining the individual turns into something of a distant dream for some (or nightmare for others). By some grand miracle or hand of god, order them both and the world they all inhabit turns topsy-turvy changing context, rule, law, possibility and everything in between.
To me, the foundations of “our” experience falls to but one fundamental — language. It is the one place, the one tool we use to “bring into being” the nothing into something — something thought, something felt and, if venerated with the focus “it” commands, something acted upon and made into a reality. Then it is to this reality that the world reacts to and the cycle begins again, repeating like a broken record, stuck in a perpetual loop that we are destined to embrace for eternity. Add, multiply and compound the output of these cycles of creation and destruction and we get the world we live in right now.
Isolate some of the most widely mentioned challenges we face in modern times — war, hunger, exploitation, poverty, racism, inequality, gender discrimination and discrimination in its various forms, challenges of the environment and climate change, culture wars etc. etc. etc. and it isn’t hard to see that at its most fundamental level, we aren’t speaking the same language. We aren’t finding the same meaning. And we aren’t seeing the same realities — if we are really seeing at all. We’re seeing versions and iterations of the similar, but rarely are we seeing the same.
Yet, the above is not completely true.
There is one language that we do use to deal with truth and reality. And it is Math. But we, as living, human beings, don’t think and feel and act in Math, and hence it’s really out of scope of the topic here.
Or is it?
I’ve always been fascinated by how we use language, memory and emotion to take in the world around us and assign meaning to things. Experience by experience, memory by memory, idea by idea we create worlds internally which are uniquely our own. But we also live in an external, shared reality that is real, undeniable — indisputable. So, how can two people look at the same object or event and have such vastly different interpretations and reactions to it?
Operating at the confluence of the sciences, realism, objectivism and pragmaticism on one side, and the abstract, experiential, subjective and ephemeral — in individual, collective and inanimate contexts — on the other, my work explores the themes of psychology, language, meaning, learning, change, perception and how we all have our own unique ways of using them to reconcile the internal and the external and construct the experiences we live in.
Conceptually and stylistically, I’ve always gravitated towards unconventional work that is strong in mood and design, regardless of the genre or medium. From conceptual art, surrealism, and graphic art to music, literature, theatre, and film — “medium” and “genre” tend to become secondary for me and subordinate to the experience as a whole. Yet, there is a deep fascination that I have with taking the whole and breaking it down, only to put it back together (in all the wrong ways) and maybe breaking it down again just for the fun of it.
"All in all, my purpose is to create art work and art experiences that are unique, memorable, have purpose and, if I'm lucky, even cause the reader to stop, think, and perhaps even feel."
Malcolm (born 1980) is an Indian designer and artist who works with painting, drawing, mixed media, digital imagery, animation, sound, sculpture and video. Deeply influenced by design, illustration, 90s conceptualism as well as experimental practices in theather, literature and music he employs a multi-disciplinary practice to challenge convention and weave imagery, forms, spaces and narratives that mainly center around questions of perception, human psychology and the reflections on the human condition. He also writes, and theorizes on the subject of art on his personal blog and Medium page.
Malcolm currently lives and works in Bengaluru, India.
1998 — Diploma in Design, JD Institute of Fashion Technology
2002 — BA, University of Bombay
2012 — MBA, Sikkim Manipal University
2022 — Non-Metamorphic Images from the Echoes of a Present — Alliance Française, Bangalore | Oct 14 – Oct 29 | An exhibition of 74 physical, digital, sound and phygital works talking to the (internal) nature of human perception and its relationship to the (external) forces of time and change AND its place in our cross-cultural world today.
2022 — Language — DYU Artcafe, Bangalore | July 14 - Dec 28 22 | made in reaction to our times, an exhibit of 14 paintings and digital loops on the nature and psychology of human language and its inherent links to the concept of the self — fundamentals that determine our individual and collective experiences.
2022 — FU/BAR Glitch Art Festival, Zagreb – Croatia | Exhibit of five digital works (about the concept of Freedom as we view it today) on display along with an international selection of artists from 57 countries.
2022 — Glitch Art.Br | An international exhibition of digital art to promote, exhibit, and discuss glitch-based works, aesthetics and theory | Exhibit of two digital works teamed around the nature of human perception.
Art/ Design related Projects & Commissions
2020 — Branding and Web design — AJW Express Pvt Ltd
2019 — Branding design consultation — GCPS Pvt Ltd, Chennai/US
2018 — Branding and instruction design — India Software Group Technologies Pvt Ltd, Bangalore
2014 — Animated Video and branding— ISGN Corporation, Bangalore
2012 — Private commission of a series of paintings, Bangalore
2003 — Private commission mural, Mumbai
2002 — Artwork commission for design store, Senora Fashions, Mumbai
Art Related Grants, Talks & Writings
2022 — Art grant Alliance Française, Bangalore
2022 — Text - Art Essentials for the Everyday Enthusiast – How Anyone Can Read and Enjoy Art — 2022
2022 — Talk - practice, recent works, and views on art today, Alliance Française, Bangalore
2022 — Blog: with the goal of understanding what art is, Malcolm’s writings takes an in-depth look at traditional as well as and present-day interpretations of the field and the people practicing them