Art

Mythology in a new context

RAISING PERTINENT QUESTIONS Madhab Das’ sculpture “An Inconvenient Truth”  

The iSculpt exhibition which recently concluded at the India International Centre was different from the usual ones. Instead of displaying art pieces in a traditional setting the event was held in an outdoor natural setting. In such a surrounding the art works reflected aesthetics while the artists were at ease to talk about their craft and works.

We spoke to a few of the presenting artists as they elaborated on their style and the significance of their displayed sculptures.

Pointing at his work, “Divine Love”, Neeraj Gupta said it is a tribute to Indian mythology. It depicts sawaari of Lord Krishna on the boat turning it into a place for Rasleela. His works attempt to portray evolution of Indian art form into contemporary work by combing modern style with traditional folktales. He stated that the Ajanta and Ellora caves served as an inspiration “These days our artists are unnecessarily getting influenced by our Western peers. In the process, they are spoiling our original art forms. We can excel in what we have achieved in the past. We are a country of great sculptures.” He went on to add, “Art is a continuous process of course, it must evolve into contemporary forms too. But we have to build on our own great past.”

Mukesh Sharma's “Nagraj” was a nine-headed large scale installation comprising technical aspects like computer keyboards and styrofoam from keyboards as well as organic components like sanganeri silkscreen printing pattern on silk. The monumental sculpture loomed over the viewer in a conscious effort to actualise the impending threat of technological domination. Commenting on the objective of his piece, he said, “For me, Nagraj is a way to examine the relation between myth and the genesis of a myth.” The apocalyptic structure presents the figure Sheshnag constructed from e-waste, in order to articulate growing consumerism and the tendency to dispose traditional ideals. Combining myth and social context, his work attempted to ask Hum technology ka bhojan banege, ya technology humara bhojan banega? (Will technology be for our consumption, or will we be consumed by technology?). The piece received critical acclaim at the Venice Biennale.

Madhab Das’ sculpture titled after Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” tackled the question of urbanisation. Carved out of cast iron, it depicted the figure of the deer sliced by iron pillars symbolising the penetration of industrialisation and its impact on wildlife habitats. The burnt wood on the side implied the rapid loss of natural habitat due to human activities. The sculpture had won the National Award this year at the Lalit Kala Akademi and is part of his series on nature and the implications of industrialisation.

All the sculptures on displaye represented different aspects of mythology and its synthesis with the contemporary context. The title of the exhibition itself invoked the merging of iconic sculpture in an attempt to reinvent the viewers reception and engagement. The specialised light design by Amit Gupta's Vis-a-Vis Lightning took more than two days to be set up and sparked off a glorious ambience to serve as an impactful backdrop for the sculptures.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 1:35:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/Mythology-in-a-new-context/article16933117.ece

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