When The Gods Came Down To Earth

Press and Reviews

Introduction by Leela Gandhi

Delivered 13 June 2008
Opening Night, The Light In Winter Festival
Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia

“I have been talking to Srinivas Krishna and glimpsing some of this work. And it seems to me exciting for a vast range of reasons that you will witness for yourselves. What I am struck by and why I think it’s particularly special, this work, is for the way in which it disturbs that tedious opposition between secularism and religion that has preoccupied the modern world, well at least since the eighteenth century, but perniciously in the last few years. I think what Krishna does — and what I’m very taken by — is the lightness of the touch with which he does very significant things.

What he does is to refuse this opposition entirely and situate his work in the interstices between extreme secularism and extreme religiosity. On the one hand, he resists entirely the puritanism of the secular mentality by talking not about God but about faith and worship. What he does is take faith seriously as a marvelous and miraculous thing. I was very moved by his concern for that strange and wonderful way in which human beings surrender themselves entirely to iconography that is either man or indeed woman or indeed machine made, and his questioning of the moment at which a sheet of paper, a mass-produced sheet of paper, becomes iconographic. And he doesn’t laugh at this; he takes it seriously. On the other hand, he also refuses the purism of the religious imagination which has troubled us equally because, in an inspired way, I think what he does is show us that modernity is not opposed to faith but, in fact, utterly implicated in it.

The images that he has drawn on historically for this work come from Calendar Art, mass produced Calendar Art, the proletarianization of belief. He’s put technology into the mix and still kept worship intact. This is work that has its origins in print culture, in mass media, in bad television mythologicals in India, in wonderfully shocking films about gods and goddesses where people get up and worship the images that they see. It is profound work, it is comic work, it is irreverent but at the same time it is sensitive.

I think it is a great privilege for Melbourne to be inaugurating this work. And, dare I say, isn’t Melbourne wonderful for thinking of this?”

Reproduced with permission from Dr. Leela Gandhi

Other Reviews

The Globe and Mail

“The revelation came not in a cinema, but on the street… ”
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The Age, Melbourne

“It’s not religious, but it is art ”
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Art News New Zealand

“Lavish and Alluring”
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Toronto Star

A “vivacious film fantasia…”
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RealTime Arts, Sydney - Preview

“richly coloured, sensual and contemplative”
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Aukland Festival Arts Guide

“Luscious”
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The Herald Sun, Melbourne

“The Gods are in Melbourne”
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India Voice, Sydney

It “invites people to think about the power and magical aura of images”
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