Sculptor S. Nandagopal's collection is filled with movement and touches of mischief

Well-known sculptor S. Nandagopal returns to smaller sculptures with his latest exhibition in the city — a lively collection of brass, bronze and bell metal works that are filled with energy and a sense of fun.

“Someone told me that I never do exhibitions in Chennai any more, so I decided I'd do a smaller collection just to exhibit here,” he says. “All these works were done in the past year.”

The collection of 19 frontal narrative sculptures at Art World feature his signature blend of the figurative and the abstract — the recognisable shape of the frolicking goat, for instance, or a ‘thinking' monkey (a humourous reference to Rodin's ‘The Thinker') against abstract symbols and shapes that add layers of meaning to his works.

Adding further texture and intriguing detail to his works is the creative use of old metal implements — weighing hooks, metal sieves, spoons and ladles — and even big, beautiful shells cast in metal.

“I found some of these heavy old metal ladles and sieves being disposed off at a village near Palakkad, and picked them up — you can still see the old engraving of the family name on some of them,” he says. “And, places such as the erstwhile Moore Market are my regular haunts for picking up old implements. If you can use found forms in your work, it can be very powerful.”

And so, a tiger's head roars, balanced upon delicately textured old copper spoons, which dance upon ancient brass hooks. Kama stands majestically upon a beautifully wrought parrot perched upon the gracefully curving handles of old ladles, as mythology and old earth-bound artefacts converge in his uniquely-contemporary works.

“I'm not bothered by specific iconography; tradition is merely a springboard for me,” comments the artist. “If you can see a sense of order in our past, then you can see a sense of order even today.”

As always, his sculptures reflect the gorgeous hues of copper alongside the rough texture of brass and the glossy sheen of lacquer. Filled with movement, and touches of mischief, this is a singularly appealing collection by the sculptor.

The exhibition is on until March 28.

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