Artist Baiju Parthan’s show Parallax explores the correlation between the physical and digital worlds through lenticular prints
Published: 30th October 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th October 2022 01:51 PM   |  A+A-
​ Art works ‘Golden Tusker’ ​
If Big Data, a profoundly abstract and metaphysical concept, were to transmogrify into a painting, how would it look? Like Baiju Parthan’s grid of symbols and letters, featuring the Buddha, chicken and numbers. 

“I have represented the expansive online ecosystem on canvas, its almost intangible existence, but containing various objects across categories,” he says, speaking on ‘Big Data’, a work, which is part of his ongoing solo exhibition titled Parallax, at Gallery Sumukha, Bengaluru.
Mystical philosophy, mythology and cyberspace inspire Parthan’s paintings. They harness the sensibilities of the scientific and digital world, which he juxtaposes with concepts of self and human history. His latest collection explores the changes in daily life brought about by the digital age through 3D lenticular prints. “Lenticular prints are stereoscopic 3D prints like 3D movies, but can be seen without using 3D glasses,” says the Mumbai-based artist, who hails from Kottayam in Kerala. Each of the 20 exhibits—multi-layered images created using 3D graphics—is processed on special software and converted into a flat image. This final image is printed and coated with a flat lenticular lens made of ultra-thin prisms, which produce the three-dimensional illusion of depth. Each work takes about three months to create.
Well into his 60s, Parthan has had a ringside seat to India’s digital revolution and has been capturing its impact on our perception of reality for the past two decades. An early exponent of ‘mediatic realism,’ an art style that rose in response to the emergence of new media, Parthan is known for his inter-media works that span paintings, digital art and new media. Perhaps it’s his background in engineering—he also studied botany and comparative mythology—that makes machines his first love.
“I have a fascination with the way science and technology evolve and generate new interpretations of the world. Strangely, these interpretations seem to converge on abstract and paradoxical ideas—instead of achieving clarity, we end up with uncertainties,” says the Goa College of Art graduate. He adds, “Today we live in a world where we struggle to differentiate between fake and real news, where social media has become the agent of disruption, rather than of cohesion.”
Parallax features prints created over the past decade. One of the works, ‘Fructus Nubes’, comprises 12 prints, each featuring his signature motif, a pear. The Latin phrase translates to ‘fruit cloud’ and the work is Parthan’s interpretation of tags or keywords used in online content. In ‘Fructus Nubes’, the internet is imagined as a tree with countless branches, much like the mythical Tree of Knowledge, and tagged clouds are presented as its fruits. 
“I have used a Latin name to reference the metaphysical qualities of the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ and its fruits,” he explains. The paintings are made up of arcane symbols, found imagery as well as contemporary photographic materials. Cyberia decoded, Parthan style.
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