Friday Review » Art

Updated: June 21, 2012 21:16 IST

All bottled up

Harshini Vakkalanka
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Experimentation and exploration in glass
Experimentation and exploration in glass

Gagji Monpara folds or bends glass bottles, creating sculptures out of a seemingly waste material

He might bend them, fold them and create fluid sculptures, but Gagji Monpara never lets the viewer forget that he is working with glass bottles.

Almost all his glass sculptures in his latest exhibition, “Glass Distinction”, organized as part of the inauguration of Gallery-g’s latest space at the Taj West End, retain their inherent bottle-ness even as Gagji retains their necks.

Sometimes these necks are inserted into wooden tendrils, wood being the other material that Gagji presents his sculptures with.

When he’s not directly connecting both materials, he is supporting the sculptures on a wooden foundation. These can be boxes against which the sculptures lean on, boards sprouting little glass mushrooms or vases with layered glass flowers.

“I don’t think glass is as fragile as it is made out to be. There are lots of possibilities to explore with glass, whether it is the transparency or softness,” explains Gagji, a graduate of M.S. University, Baroda, where he studied sculpture.

He does not completely remould his material, but instead folds or bends it, creating sculptures out of a seemingly waste material. The sculptures are flowing and bending to create almost live shapes that interact with the viewer, especially when placed in context with the wood, a living medium.

Gagji says he uses wood as a way of adding strength and stability to glass, creating a pleasant contrast between the cool softness of the glass and the warm toughness of wood. He makes it seem like the wood contains the glass, at the same time drawing attention to glass as the centrepiece of his creative process.

Initially working with ceramic, stone and wood, Gagji only began showing his works in glass over the past three years while teaching his students clay-work at a school in Gujarat.

One day he asked them to bring transparent bottles and jars from home to insert their clay objects into. He then began working the bottles in the kiln, watching them collapse to form different shapes, until he decided to explore glass bottles as a medium. His work with glass is pure experimentation and exploration of the medium, therefore making a simple, light and refreshing viewing experience.

The exhibition at Taj West End’s Art Corridor, which continues until June 22, also features works by Buwa Shete, Nitin Nangare, Ramachandra Kharatmal, Varsha Kharatmal and Om Swami. The exhibition will then move to Gallery-g’s Lavelle Road space. For details, contact 22219275.

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