Friday, April 23, 2010

What holds the Key to success of sculptures and installations?

A slew of volume-centric exhibits of sculptures and installations seen in the capital city of India over the past couple of months, raised certain questions about the role fabrication plays and the whole idea of an installation in specific sculptural practices. Does ready-made units of a group of lanterns, a clichéd Durga on a tiger, a child on a dog or a bottom-heavy human figure make an installation? Providing the answer, Uma Nair of ET notes:
“An installation when conceptualized must blow away all palpable signs of production and invite contemplation. It must have the ability to speak to us like a multiple space in which we are left introspecting the moment of combustion so as to release a host of meanings. It’s akin to setting a stage the artist has secretly created before the audience enters. But to make the invite a consideration or a cohesion of thoughts, the artist must spend a long time to leave traces of his elemental thinking.”
Subodh Gupta’s ‘Common Man’ at Hauser and Wirth late last year had two works that incorporated tables for an installation work Potato Ring and Aam Aadmi. Departing from the usual, he veered away from composite sculptures moving towards objects, which possessed an auratic, albeit sensory quality. He employed culturally loaded mediums like bronze, marble and steel for these two installations.

In creating sub-contexts for a fruit (mango) and vegetable (potatoes) glistened in humbled magnificence, he suggested an installation needed to provide an integral but vital symbolism to couple ‘the universal and the enigmatic’. Here, he was exploring capacity of art to withstand as well as channel the effects of expansion, displacement and translation, the art critic points out and adds that Subodh Gupta goes beyond the mere street story to discover the language of the present meticulously filtered through the past.

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