Works by four young Baroda-based artists, displayed as “Urban Testimonies”, harp on pessimism.

While taking a look at what our senior artists have been doing with their experienced hands, it becomes necessary to have a glimpse at the young artists' take on the world. At Latitude 28, the art gallery at F-208 Lado Sarai, four young artists from Vadodara's M.S. University have come out with four different artistic visions in four different mediums. The theme, however, remains the same — urban dwellings.

With the help of fibreglass, acrylic, paper, LED lights, iron and an electronic meter, 27-year-old Deepjyoti Kalita makes a film of sorts with three men. One is lost in his thoughts and another hides his identity wearing a mask. The third one shifts between the two as you switch on the ‘electronic programme meter'. The work titled “Incompleteness of being complete” signifies the forceful shifting of place and ideology that this young man is not able to adjust to. Autobiographical in nature, the work symbolises the artist's shift from Assam to Vadodara in search of artistic satisfaction.

Nityanand Ojha's work “No Other Way” is a male figure who has committed suicide. The life-size work is made of jewellery, resin, acrylic, light and rope. He doesn't use jewellery as a utility item or as an object of feminine desire but as a symbol of materialism, in pursuit of which a person of the urban dwelling often takes drastic steps like committing suicide or “at least just thinks it once when exhausted by the fast paced life devoid of emotions”. Ojha's subject holds a light in his hand which glows intermittently, symbolising that the hope itself as a question. Another work, a light box full of film stars with several fake gestures, opposite which he (as a painted figure) walks with a fake attitude, depicts his impression of the urban world. “The urban dwelling drains you of your real emotions and teaches you how to ‘fake' everything,” says the 31-year-old.

Siddartha Karawal, a sculptor by degree and a performer by passion, brings alive the age-old story of “You can't please everyone” through digital photographs. Siddartha performed the story in Baroda with his friend by making a donkey out of bed sheets and mattresses and got it documented. Another of his works, a pile of dead donkeys made of sacks of cement with a blood-stained rod passing through them, is gory.

“This is how an urban dwelling treats you. You work like a donkey and die unknown,” says this engineering dropout whose works find few funds or sponsors. “I challenge the market. I don't make showy work to sell. I manage my finances with residency programmes, or at times my sculptures sell,” he says casually.

Kartik Sood too makes works with few takers. His video installation is based on a ritual performed by children — the ritual he saw when his grandmother died. Perfume bottles kept with the video installations symbolise the urban phenomenon.

Another interesting work by Sood is a collection of black and white pictures of street kids caught unawares called “Plucking of heartstrings”. The photographs flash as light intermittently falls on them. “It symbolises memory for me,” he says.

The works, experimental in nature, reflect the daring attitude of the young artists who unfortunately seem to see nothing positive in urban dwellings.

(The show concludes on August 18.)