In 2019, Vasantha Yogananthan was invited by the company Wienerberger AG, a global provider of building materials and infrastructure solutions, to create an original body of work in India about architecture. Yogananthan decided to work in and around the city of Trivandrum, Kerala, where most of Indian architect Laurie Baker’s famous buildings are located. Insights – The Wienerberger Contemporary Photography Collection is an art project initiated in 2012 by Wienerberger. Unlike conventional corporate collections, the focus here is on the processes behind the creation of new works, as well as the artists’ perspectives on industrial activity and its effects on society. Since its inception, far more than one hundred works by thirteen artists have been created in twenty countries.
‘One of the things Gandhi said that impressed me and has influenced my thinking more than anything else was that the ideal houses in the ideal village will be built of materials which are all found within a five-mile radius of the house. I confess that as a young architect, born, brought up, educated and qualified in the West, I thought at first Gandhi’s ideal was a bit ‘far-fetched’ and I used to argue to myself that of course he probably did not intend us to take this ideal too literally. But now, in my seventies and with forty years of building behind me, I have come to the conclusion that he was right, literally word for word, and that he did not mean that there could be exceptions.’ — Laurie Baker, Life, Works & Writings (Gautam Bhatia, Penguin India)