In his painting, Entertainment, Mrinal Dey talks about the temptations, manipulations, and irritations associated with the televisual apparatus. He says, “When I was a child, I used to play with television toys for amusement. Now there is hardly any time to remember the joys of the past as television, which is based on a system of manipulation today, alienates us from our intellectual and social perceptions that are guided by memories of childhood.” Through his conversations and paintings, Dey attempts to highlight the ways in which such machines of control actually prohibit us from accessing our pasts.
For Dey, the television represents a spectacular machinery of manipulation that offers so-called solutions in the face of societal crises. Misled by these televisual systems, we feel reality is presented before us in all its clarity. However, Dey refutes this through his artistic practice. His overwhelming figures engage with the grotesque in a way that one is led to think of information technology as a disease akin to obesity — where the body consumes tailored information almost as though a dietary ritual. Intellect and health are in deeper crises today more than ever, not because of poverty but overconsumption. Dey’s use of the metaphor of obesity to convey the increasingly unhealthy presence of mass media and technology represents the current temporal scale of our society.
Rusted head (Sculpture)
The textual translation of Dey’s sculpture, Rusted Head, hints at the process of ruination that surrounds intellectual activity today. Social media games and simulations that people play are a representation of this society of consumption and Dey’s works are a critique of the banality of this widespread phenomenon. With regard to his paintings, Dey says, “We all have minds but we are unable to use them in a right way. I try to evaluate the state of our minds by portraying a rusted hammer on the head. In this present society of command and control, we dance with no regard whatsoever to the music is played by the DJ. I have painted our cityscapes by using the motif of the hammer on the head precisely to show this disease. The heaviness of hammer suggests the destruction of our ability to think.”