India Projects: “Lights Accross the Sea” and “Common Ground: the serendipitous happenstance project”

In late October 2012 Louise Rippert and William Eicholtz travelled from their Melbourne studio to Varanasi, India for an intensive 16 day project to explore new connections between their artwork and Indian culture.

Louise Rippert has had a long connection to Indian symbols in her own artwork, a deep interest in the culture and has travelled extensively through all parts of India. This project is the first time she has made artwork in India and her site specific works stretched her resourcefulness. She embarked on this project with her personal archive of mandala images and high expectations that connections could be made on a street level with locals and pilgrims visiting the holy city.

Click here for the Lights Across The Sea PDF (~2mB)

Click here to watch the Lights Across the Sea film

From the first day Louise began the exploration of possibilities for her work. Noticing that the heritage walls of the Ghats were quickly being tagged by visiting international artists her reaction was to take her ideas to a more intimate street level, where local interaction and involvement from those who lived and worked beyond the walls would become part of the works “making”.



“Common Ground: the serindipitous happenstance project” Cochin, India


Building on the collaborative cross-cultural approach of Lights Across the Sea, Louise and William embarked on a five week  residency project set against the backdrop of the 2016-17 Kochi-Muziris Bienalle in Cochin, India.


Curated by Helen Rayment, and held at Gallery OED in Mattencherry,”Common ground: the serindipitous happenstance project” bought together 5 australian artists (Louise rippert, William Eicholtz, Maggie Baxter, Mandy Ridley and Catherine Parker), each taking inspiration from the ancient Indian game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’ as they sought opportunities to explore the role of luck and fate in creating new cross cultural relationships. The project saw Louise and William embark on colaborative exchange with local contemporary artist, Narayanan Mohannan, as together they created  their public installation, Renew. Nestled in a disbandoned, overgrown warehouse in the historic spice market area of Bazarre Road, Mattencherry, Renew explored humanity’s precarious relationship to the environment through a futuristic vision of n exotic botanic specimen held captive. The installation was a major success, gaining local attention in India . As an act of collaborative creation, the project was naturally guided by elements of serendipity and happenstance—and the artists invited a virtual audience to come along on the journey by sharing regular updates of their creative process through photos, video clips and posts via social media.
The Common Ground project opened on 12 December 2016 at gallery OED and ran until 29 March 2017, culminating in a residency, exhibition, catalogue and  short film, Happenchance, by Indian film company MoonLight Pictures.
This project was supported by Creative Victoria, Australia India Institute and Creative Partnerships Australia.