The Artist Behind The Golden Stairs: Is It Possible To Draw A Line Between Art And Vandalism?

The artist Priyageetha Dia responded on her Facebook:

Someone asked why would I do something stupid like that? Well yes, stupid it may seem to you. Was it done out of impulse? No. Is it because you Indian that’s why you like gold so much? *smacks forehead.

This work has been on my mind for the past one month and I was definitely apprehensive on realising it until two days ago. The process was an invigorating one though I was apprehensive of the consequences I may face. At the end of the 5-hour long hushed deed, the intervention of the gold finally reverberated against the ever lifeless and grey architecture on the 20th floor of my block.

My practice deals with spaces that negotiate concepts on the sacred, secular and the profane. As such, I am intrigued with spaces that I have inhabited over the course of 25 years as a HDB dweller and thus it has prompted me to intervene away from the household and into public spaces. But what constitutes public and private space? How does that apply along with the sacred etc.? And why gold? I would love to list down the conceptual reasoning of what the work is about but wouldn’t it make the work seem less interesting then?

So, is it possible to draw a line between art and vandalism? I consider this work as art and not vandalism. Though one would say about the legal system and its regulations but I do believe I did not deface anything, what I did was to enhance the space and my surroundings. This work provokes. Provokes in all sense we are used to living the standard way of life, and all of a sudden something as glaring as gold negotiates the space. My work does not seek to obliterate a public space; vandalism in all sense has no respect for another individual.

I do know the social responsibility of an artist (though I don’t consider myself an artist yet, cause it’s too much of an honorific term). I didn’t intend to please the public with my work but it was definitely a sense of satisfaction for me. After practising arts under the academy for almost 3 years, I needed to break away from that zone. What better way to make art and have it on display beyond the white cube.

Source: Facebook

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