For Idols of Mud and Water, Ramesh dramatically populates Tramway's main gallery with a melange of multi-limbed, fertility, protector, joker and warrior figures. A giant Guardian made from cob (mud and straw) features prominently in the middle of a partially built fountain, whilst
across the space a number of hand-formed, glazed ceramics reference a range of archetypes, from fertility deities, warriors and protector figures.
A large ceramic sculpture at the head of the space incorporates figurative traditions ranging from early Gandharan Buddhism to Hinduism, echoing the ways in which figurative languages have merged over time. A bronze sculpture made from an array of moulds of the artist's previous works references ideas of the ‘exquisite corpse’ - a collaborative drawing approach first used by surrealist artists to create bizarre and intuitive drawings. Lit theatrically from above it welcomes audiences at the threshold of the space.
Made over a year in the lead up to the exhibition, the installation also includes a body of 97 terracotta sculptures nestled within an improvised, makeshift architectural ‘temple’ structure, made from a range of repurposed materials including bamboo, scaffolding and recycled timber. Connected by a narrative of mud and water, the installation evokes the feeling that visitors are entering a ruin or a space of dreams and divinations, simultaneously apocalyptic and optimistic. Tramway becomes, in the artist’s words, a ‘buzzing mythological playground’ in which queer politics, anthropomorphism, monumentality and popular culture combine to create new, speculative mythologies.
Idols of Mud and Water has been commissioned by TRAMWAY and is supported by Creative Australia and Creative Scotland. Supported by the Henry Moore Foundation.
Sullivan+Strumpf acknowledge the Indigenous People of this land, the traditional custodians on whose Country we work, live and learn. We pay respect to Elders, past and present, and recognise their continued connection to culture, land, waters and community.