Designer Manish Malhotra and artist Sudarshan Shetty blend their individual styles of fashion and art to create immersive experiences, evoking the Sixth Senses of intuition and love. By Chahak Mittal
Psychology suggests that if you have a sixth sense and strongly feel in a certain way about something, you should believe it.
As a part of its third edition, the Chivas is back with the Chivas 18 Alchemy with five alchemists and maestros from the world of art, design and fashion to discover the Sixth Sense. Showcasing the art of storytelling through scintillating and unparalleled expressions of craftsmanship defying formulae, the alchemists will present some immersive and interactive installations.
Actress Malaika Arora, designers Manish Malhotra and Rahul Mishra, artist Sudarshan Shetty and jeweller Siddharth Kasliwal have curated immersive experiences exploring the unusual, creative expressions of fantasy, love, intuition, déjà vu and memory, respectively.
Shetty, through the idea of love, tries to put together the abstract and transforms it into a tactile idea reflecting feelings, curating memories and expressing freedom. He calls the process as “gathering life’s scattered fragments into a kaleidoscope.”
Explaining why did he choose the feeling of love as his sixth sense, he says that it is something that he has been thinking about since quite a long time. For him, there are a lot of things that “represent love as it is the most primary emotion.”
He feels that love is also a kind of an “oversold” idea. He says, “It is oversold to such an extent that it becomes meaningless at times. I am interested to know that how love can also sometimes render itself meaningless. So, how do you reconcile and address that idea as a basic human emotion which is a part of your life in many ways.? I have been trying to find out the answer to this through a lot of my works. And this is one way of exploring it.”
In his curation, a group of six musicians and vocalists will present the love song, Bandish, which is also an old song. “It is because I am also playing with the what is contemporary and something that is classified as traditional. This also addresses the question of what contemporary really is? It’s questioning that since everything in life has a resonance with the past, so how do you get trapped in these everyday reminisces? Through this, I want to be able to make contemporary life more meaningful,” says Shetty.
He will create a mosaic of love, loss, mortality and infinity through voices, ragas, video and installation art, and make it into one. He says, “I believe in the power of magic, art, and love. I am looking to not only extend my limitations but also trying to bring out something through that process which wasn’t there before. It is also a way to discover a new aspect of life. It’s an effort that is trying to chart various categories that are unchartered.”
For him, the five senses are the means to be able to reach that Sixth Sense, “if there is one.”
He further explains that through his installation, apart from soulful music, there is a blend of cinema, art and sculpture. “There is a film that shows a setup of a chandelier above a dinning table. And by the end of the film, the chandelier falls on the table and then that is how it is standing.”
For Shetty, the falling of the chandelier acts as a metaphor for love, that cannot exist without a sense of it being lost. He explains, “If you are in love, you are also always aware that it could be lost. It’s a cycle of finding and losing. So, to represent the loss, I have dropped the chandelier. Love also needs bed rest sometimes.”
While Sudarshan presents the idea of love as the most intricate and precious emotions of life, designer Manish Malhotra brings his idea of Sixth Sense as ‘Intuition.’
He dabs into amber depths to paint a mirage of visions with mirrors and reflections — fleeting, lasting, diffused, spontaneous yet startling in clarity.
For Malhotra, intuition means the “perception” of things. “It’s your mind and the inner self that is sensing things. It’s your mind that speaks to you and let’s you perceive certain things like a reflection in the mirror.”
The designer who is very “fond of mirrors,” intuition is multi-faceted and reflects elements that are true. “They act as metaphors of reality. There’s nothing to hide when you are standing in front of the mirror, they show, reflect and speak what is true. In a certain atmosphere or among a group of people, it’s your intuition which acts as a mirror and let’s you perceive it clearly,” he explains.
Since it is Chivas, he says, in his curation, there has to be a bar, and in it, he has used a lot of mirror work. “It’s also a reflection of what is there within you. It represents a fearless approach of being your true self.”
Talking about how he blended his individual style and profession of designing fashion with the alchemy, he exemplifies his experience in the film industry which is of more than 29 years, “I am 52, but my label is a lot more younger — 14 years old. Now is the time when I am starting on a lot more different vertical and experimenting with various kinds of production work for design and decor. Hence, I wanted it to be reflected by something new that I have started now. It should be under alignment to my thoughts and vision.”
He believes that in life, experiences signify how blessed one is. “In my case, it has been a lot of work and I am blessed to be still working with the third generation of actors. There is so much of experience, which helps your intuition, mind, heart and thought process. I am grateful for so many experiences to be a part of me. And it’s all because of my intuition that I could make the right choices in my life,” he says as he signs off.