Asim Waqif crushes, folds, bends, grows, layers and builds — manipulating materials like metal, bamboo and rubber pipes into monumental structures that straddle the “edge between” development and collapse. Abandoned and forgotten spaces start speaking again in his work, such as in his installation of plastic bottles spelling ‘HELP’ on the river Yamuna river in 2010-11, envisioned as a river goddess’ protest; as do the materials that become trash in order to maintain other spaces as liveable, as in his installation of discarded rubber pipes, wrapped around the grand staircase at the Chicago Cultural Center.
We meet the artist in his two-room studio within a Delhi Development Authority complex in South Delhi, where he creates smaller sculptural works in crushed metal and cyanotype. Sheets of paper with test formulae of cyanotype chemicals are pasted all over the kitchen cabinets and exposure lamps hang over a worktable with sculptures in progress. “Looking at trash is similar to archeology,” the artist tells us in this space, full of the unused metal and bamboo from projects past, and which become the context and inspiration for current and future experiments.
In this BMW Artist Film, Asim Waqif tells us about the importance of working with a good team in creating large-scale installations, and his desire to create playful “game environments” for audiences.
Asim Waqif was born in 1978 in Hyderabad, India. His work will be shown at India Art Fair 2024 by Nature Morte.