TRANSFORMATION series BARCODE collage (Large)Adil Writer’s ‘Once Were Barcodes: The Transformation Series’ is a 7’6” tall installation that spreads out to about 20’ in length. It was made in 2014 with unfired ceramic ingredients and acrylic on canvas.

This piece is being sold by the Auroville Art Service to raise the seed money for a museum of contemporary art in Auroville.

To buy this installation, please contact us.



“Once were barcodes: The TRANSFORMATION series”

A chance meeting in Australia, in 2007, led to an invite to a very prestigious residency in Fuping, to make artworks for the proposed Indian Museum of Ceramic Art in China. When I am invited to residencies, I prefer to not make works I normally make in my studios in Auroville. The challenge is to work afresh, with language barriers and cultural cross-connections, stepping out of comfort zones, and pushing myself into making a new body of work inspired by the place I am invited to. So what does one think of, in India, when thinking of today’s China? Consumerism; China being the global capital when it comes to supplying merchandise …represented by the ubiquitous barcode! So I decided to make a huge barcode in China! This, for reasons not to be explained here, remained a dream.

Images of my subsequent, smaller barcodes reached the curators of the Mumbai airport project and I was approached to quote for a 2 metre high, 12 metre long barcode; only, they wanted it in clay! Sadly, the project fell through, but in my mind, I had already visualised what this would look like, in the medium I had preferred to make it in, acrylic on canvas; the paint being subjected to a mélange of ball clay, china clay, sand and grog. I decided to go out on several limbs and make it for myself! Quite a liberation actually, no clients to dictate, no colour schemes to follow, no time-limits, no stress!

The installation has travelled to several galleries and been shown in different settings…. From galleries, meditative institutions, art fairs to hyper-malls! It now sits quietly in Auroville, awaiting its next chapter. As an artist living and (I can hardly call it) working in Auroville, I have been nursing this dream of setting up a Museum of Auroville Art; a space that would house and display what may be broadly termed “Auroville art” over the near 50 years of this phenomenon called Auroville, an international community tucked in the verdant forests of south India. I am wishing to put up my Barcode installation (….Incidentally, titled “Once Were Barcodes: The Transformation Series”) up for sale on the internet under the sheltering umbrella of the Auroville Arts Service. Much of the amount from the possible sale would be kept aside as seed money towards the above mentioned museum project…. The idea being that once seed money comes in, contributions and donations towards the same project follow.

So here it is…. Very textural, it has the promise of it having been made in clay. And unless you actually touch it, hides its secret of material, falling into my current preoccupation of making the painted canvas a more interactive object; not to crucify it to a mundane existence on a wall. This barcode has presence; whether it’s a single free-standing panel, or all of them put together in various permutations and combinations. Good to know that the architect in me is well and alive …in spite of all this clay and paint.

AUROVILLE, April 2016