Immersive Bamboo Installations by Asim Waqif Whirl and Heave in Monumental Motion

Immersive Bamboo Installations by Asim Waqif Whirl and Heave in | RetinaComics

“লয় (Loy)” (2019), Arjunpur Amra Sabai Club, Kolkata. Photo by Vivian Sarky. All images © Asim Waqif, shared with permission

In his monumental, swirling structures, Delhi-based artist Asim Waqif merges tenets of architecture and sculpture into sweeping site-specific compositions. Using natural materials like bamboo and pandanus leaves, he often incorporates found objects, scaffolding, sound elements, cloth, and rope.

Waqif draws on his studies in architecture and experience in film and TV art direction, considering location, material, and the experience of moving around or through the work. Building each installation involves complex “manual processes that are deliberately painstaking and laborious, while the products themselves are often temporary and sometimes even designed to decay,” he says.

Research in ecology and anthropology inform much of Waqif’s approach, especially his interest in vernacular systems of ecological management. Elaborate pieces like “লয় (Loy)” are made possible through a collaborative effort, employing a team of skilled bamboo and cane craftspeople to create labyrinth-like tunnels and detailed surfaces. Natural entryways invite visitors to immerse themselves in the work, experiencing a range of audio effects as they wander through different areas.

Last year, the artist constructed “वेणु (Venu)” outside of the Southbank Centre in London, which contrasted the building’s brutalist concrete exterior with the warm tones of bamboo, exploring themes of urban space, ecology, and community. Inside, visitors could engage with bamboo musical instruments, encouraging collective and spontaneous creativity.

In September, Waqif is headed to Okayama, Japan, to make a work for the inaugural Forest Festival of the Arts. Explore more projects on Waqif’s website.

 

a person wanders into a large bamboo installation

“লয় (Loy)” (2019), Arjunpur Amra Sabai Club, Kolkata. Photo by Vivian Sarky

a large bamboo installation

“লয় (Loy)” (2019), Arjunpur Amra Sabai Club, Kolkata. Photo by Vivian Sarky

a large bamboo installation with a red shell structure

“লয় (Loy)” (2019), Arjunpur Amra Sabai Club, Kolkata. Photo by Vivian Sarky

a bamboo walkway illuminated by light

“লয় (Loy)” (2019), Arjunpur Amra Sabai Club, Kolkata. Photo by Vivian Sarky

people wander through a large bamboo installation

“লয় (Loy)” (2019), Arjunpur Amra Sabai Club, Kolkata. Photo by Vivian Sarky

a person stands in a large bamboo structure on the sidewalk

“वेणु (Venu)” (2023), The Bagri Foundation Commission at The Hayward Gallery, London. Photo by Jo Underhill

a person climbs a swirling structure in trees

“Improvise” (2022), Kochi Muziris Biennale. Photo by Asim Waqif

a detail of a swirling bamboo structure

Detail of “Improvise” (2022), Kochi Muziris Biennale. Photo by Asim Waqif



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