Ankon Mitra /India


Artist's Statement

This is a first person account. The technique of folding came to me as an un-self-conscious gift, an act of serendipity from Mother Nature, while learning to design gardens and observing nature closely. Leaves, flowers, stems, roots have folds in them (folds help to save energy and give structural strength to weak materials). Our bodies are made of millions of folds - our eyelids to our brains, our intestines, the joints in the bones of our fingers, arms, legs and spines. The DNA from which we are made is all folded. Rivers, ocean coastlines and mountain systems are made by processes of folding, as rocks, water, soil and wind interact and fracture. Sea shells have folds inside them, as do sound and light waves when they move through space. Even gravitational space-time is made up of folds (Einstein proved this a 100 years ago!). My sculptural inspirations come from this treasure trove of folds (all around us and even inside of us)! Folding is my spiritual cord with the universe, my anchorage, and the act of folding is my prayer.

I experiment with a lot of materials - soft materials for interior projects like leather, plastic, wood veneer and hard robust materials for exteriors like copper, brass, stainless steel, mild steel, wood, glass, concrete, stone and ceramics for exteriors. This is the architect in me learning about materials by working with them hands-on. If not materially faithful, I stay faithful to the language of folds. There are two specific techniques in all my sculptures - Origami (folds only) and Kirigami (cuts + folds). One of the aims of the Studio is to fold a 100 materials by the time we turn 25 as a practice. We are currently at 54 materials. And we don't count different types of paper, it is one material.

Folding in nature teaches me frugality and doing more with less. I have found my Ikigai - and made the life-long study of folding my way to share nature's message with my community. This can become humanity's direct connection with the cosmos, folding is the language of geometry and physics - which is universal and beyond the limitation of human languages.



Ankon Mitra - Bio

Ankon Mitra is a trained architect and practices as a sculptor. He has built an international reputation as a pioneer of the folding technique through his diverse projects. Recipient of the All-India Gold Medal for Sculpture from the Prafulla Dahanukar Foundation in 2018 and the Lexus Design Award for Craft Design in 2020, his work has been exhibited in India, Italy, France, UK, USA, Japan, the Netherlands, Brazil and China. He is a member of the Indian Institute of Architects, the British Origami Society, Origami USA, and the Sculpture Network in Europe. His work was showcased at the Arte Laguna in Venice and the CODA Museum in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands in 2021. His sculptures and installations are part of public developments and private collections (outdoor as well as indoor) globally. Being a trained architect and landscape designer himself, he works closely with developers and architects to integrate his artistic vision and sculptures into the context of the architectural/landscape designs. A TEDx speaker and a warrior for 'making connections across disciplines' with his brainchild - 'Oritecture - Origami + Architecture', Mitra shares a unique vision of a universe forming and dissolving from acts of folding. He teaches the folding technique extensively across schools of Design, Architecture and Engineering in India and abroad, hoping to expose the next generation of thinkers to the endless possibilities of folding. He passionately believes in the two maxims - Geometry Aims at the Eternal (Plato), and The Universe is Mathematics (Max Tegmark).


Collaboration iinformation:

1. Utsha Foundation - Barbil Art Project Residency

2. Gujral Foundation and Aga Khan Trust / Foundation ; Photographs by Sohaib Ilyas / Ekansh Goel

3. Gujral Foundation and Aga Khan Trust / Foundation ; Photographs by Sohaib Ilyas / Ekansh Goel

4. Crochet by Neha Bhardwaj ; India Design ID / Art Pilgrim Live

5. Crochet by Neha Bhardwaj ; Art Pilgrim Live

6. SAE / Kaveri Garg / VGO

7. Arte Laguna, Venice ; Photograph by Mila Trevisan

8. Arte Laguna, Venice ; Photograph by Kubo Novak

9. Lucca Biennale ; Photograph by Michela Moretti

10. Lucca Biennale

11. Lucca Biennale ; Photograph by Giuseppe Circelli

12. Shanghai Paper Art Biennale / Anson Ou

13. Shanghai Paper Art Biennale / Anson Ou

14. Art Motif ; Mala Aneja

15. Art Motif ; Mala Aneja

16. Materiology 2.0 ; Stir World - Pramiti Madhavji, Amit Gupta ; Collaboration with Banduk-Smith Studio

17. Apparao Galleries / Sharan Apparao ; Ministry of Culture and Textiles

18. Art Centrix Space / Monica Jain

19. Art Centrix Space / Monica Jain

20. Collaboration with and Photograph by Kritika Malhotra / 100 Watts Design

21. RAW Collaborative

22. RAW Collaborative

23. Piramal Art Foundation ; Dr. Swati Piramal

24. Piramal Art Foundation ; Dr. Swati Piramal

25. CODA Museum, The Netherlands ; Photograph by Henk van der Vorst

26. CODA Museum, The Netherlands ; Photograph by Eline de Jong

27. Silhouette Events

28. Silhouette Events

29. Studio Lotus, Banaras Ekaya, 'Cou'Su d'Or' 


Artist Biography

Name : Ankon Mitra

Nationality : Indian

Date of Birth : 6th of April 1982 ( Age : 39 years)

Qualifications / Education

  • Master of Science - Adaptive Architecture + Computation, The Bartlett, University College London (UCL), UK (graduated with Distinction) 2008-2009
  • Bachelor of Architecture, School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi, India (First Class with Distinction & General Proficiency Gold Medal) 2000-2005

Professional Affiliations

Sculpture Network Europe (SN) , British Origami Society (BOS), Origami USA (OUSA), The Paper Artist Collective Worldwide (PAC), International Association of Hand-Paper Makers and Artists (IAPMA); Council of Architecture, India (CoA); Associate, Indian Institute of Architects (IIA); Association of Designers of India (ADI)

Awards

Eldrok India - Innovation in Urban Landscape Awards 2021

Lexus Design Award for Craft Design 2020

Prafulla Dahanukar Foundation - All-India Gold Medal for Sculpture 2018

Public and Private - Sculptures and Installation Commissions

2021 - 'In the Seeds, the Trees', Barbil Art Project, Utsha Foundation, Odisha, India

2021 - 'The Clouds of Illusion' at the Lucca Paper Art Biennale, Italy

2021 - 'Komorebi' at the Arte Laguna Prize, XIVth Edition, Venice, Sculpture Category

2021 - 'Vortex Celestial' at the CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, as part of the Paper Art Biennale

2021 - Embassy Group - Embassy Tech Village Public Sculptures, Bangalore, India

2020 - Cartier High - 'The Chandeliers of Mother Nature' at the Modern Art Museum, Shanghai, China

2019-2020 - Origami Architecture and Landscape Pavilion "The Song of the Earth and the Sky", at the Sunder Nursery Public Gardens, New Delhi, India (Aga Khan Foundation and the Gujral Foundation)

2019 - Ceiling and Wall Sculptures / Installations - "The Parting of Galaxies" and "The Sights and Sounds of the Cosmos 2", Fengxian Museum of Art, Shanghai, China

2019 - Permanent Installation "The Churning of the Ocean" in the triple height atrium of the Peninsula Corporate Park in Lower Parel, Mumbai, India (Piramal Realty / Piramal Art Foundation)

2018 - Installation at the Lucca Art Biennale - "The Sights and Sounds of the Cosmos"

2018 - Emami Art Foundation, Kolkata, India - Divine Axis - Column Installation in the Central Atrium (with Art Centrix Space)

2017 - Kinetic and Lighting sculptures for the City Palace Courtyard "The Pond of Square Lotus", City Palace, Jaipur, India

2017 - Origami Pavilion in the garden at La Suvera, Sienna, Italy

2017 - Wall and Floor Lighting Sculptures, JW Marriott, Aerocity, New Delhi, India

2016 - Sculptures for the hotel lobbies and courtyards "Hextile" and "Whirling Dervishes" , Hotel St. Regis, Vommuli Island, The Maldives (with Apparao Galleries)

Solo Sculpture Exhibitions

2018, Pleated Poems, Apparao Galleries, Chennai, India

2016, Divinity in the Folds, Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai, India

2016, Origami Red-Origami Gold@ Tenshin Okakura Gallery, Japan Foundation, New Delhi, India (Art Centrix Space, Monica Jain)

2014, The Folded Garden, Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India (curated by Uma Nair)

Group Art Exhibitions

2020, India Art Fair, Booth of Gallery Art Motif, New Delhi, India

2019, Awagami Paper Art Exhibition, Tokushima, Japan

2019, Shanghai Biennale, Fengxian Museum, Shanghai, China (Permanent Exhibit)

2019, iSculpt2, Gandhi-King Plaza, New Delhi, India

2018 Trestle Gallery, New York

2018, Custodians of Time, Booth of Art Centrix Space, India Art Fair, New Delhi, India

2018, Chaos and Silence, Cartasia Biennale IXth Edition, Lucca, Italy (Artist-in-Residence amongst 6 other selected artists)

2018, Booth of the Art Houz Gallery, Affordable Art Fair, Singapore

2017, Between the Fold, Two Artist Show with Sophie Jo, Apparao Galleries, Chennai, India

2016, The Paper Artist Collective Show, A-Side-B-Side Gallery, Hackney, London, U.K

2016, Booked | Books Meet Art, Art Centrix Space, New Delhi, India

2015, Illumination - The Art of Light, Apparao Galleries, The Lodhi, New Delhi, India

Publications

  • 2021, India : Unbuilt (Vol 2.0), ArchiSHOTS (Upcoming publication in January 2022)
  • 2020, Landscape Journal India (Issue. 64), ISSN 0975-0177, Pages 100-109; "Art as A Landscape of Folds"
  • 2018, Papercrafts - A Maker's Guide, Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), ISBN-13: 9780500294185 , ISBN-10: 0500294186
  • 2018, Emerging Artists Year Book 2018, Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation, ISBN 13: 9788193560815
  • 2018, Arts Illustrated Journal, Vol 5, Issue 5, LA5 Global Publications
  • 2018, Elle Decor (India), Vol 7, No.4, Ogaan Media Pvt. Ltd.
  • 2018, Mondo Arc (India), Issue #20, Mondiale Publishing U.K
  • 2017, Pool 77 Cover Story (Design India), www.indipool.com
  • 2016, Art in Public Spaces, The Visual Arts Journal, ISSN : 2348-2508
  • 2014, Archumen - Questioning Architecture, Gita Balakrishnan and Ankon Mitra, ISBN-13: 9788192956794 , ISBN-10: 8192956792