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Heart of Sculpture

Curated by Shalini Biswajit

Artist and Director, Forum Art Gallery, Chennai

The crux of the matter is that sculpture is here to stay.

As a sculptor, to exist in the same space as the work of art, to navigate around it, to make it an inclusive experience that sustains beyond your lifetime, is indeed exhilarating. The sensation that your work is immortal, enigmatically playing with your thoughts, perceptions, sensitivity and creativity, give it the awe factor.

Suspended between the present and the future, Forum Art Gallery presents Heart of Sculpture - a collection of contemporary Indian sculptural idiom replenished with an engaging interplay of narratives that tap a circuit of limitless and boundless creativity. Man, animal and nature drawn from the now or the cached is presented in bronze, fibreglass, granite, stainless steel and cast glass. Form in round or in the frontal bear a semblance to the depicted, eulogizing an expression that is fluidly global and local. Unfolding here is a unique sensory perception that navigates from the tangible world of objective realism with statements and full stops to the minimal world of ‘Less is more’, punctuated with colons and semicolons.

What is tangible? Is it the thought process or the art process? The mind is a store house of details that looks into spaces with an intimacy that engages, revives and rescues. The trained eye teases out the image and slots it into familiar grids. There is an instant connect that spins on the axis of aesthetics and the information that is then processed is understood and cherished.

The art process addresses the internalized idiom and delivers the corresponding image in the choice of materials best suited for its expression. The unity of the two results in an expression that is unique to the artist, a signature collection of sorts that stamps and seals the work.

In the works of P.S. Nandan and A.V Ilango, the sculptures in granite have an index of images in a hybrid space, the Bull beyond its contour and the Bird in a flight of fancy. The immense power and the stark simplicity of the works is evocative of a line that travels on the stone, concealing and revealing the image, and bridging the positive and negative spaces in a unique synergy.

The Bronze preoccupations of Dimpy Menon and Elanchezhiyan rely on complexity rather than size to weigh the matter down to the essential. Human and animal endurance is the language of expression, and in Elanchezhiyan’s Bull, transformation is based on an expressionist handling, the form being built on fleeting layers. In Dimpy's creations, on the other hand, the layers are peeled to expose the fluidity of the human body bared to its minimalist essence.

Anchoring him to a realm of the imaginary, Shivarama Chary’s fantastical figure implemented in fibreglass and mild steel is propped up like an ethereal being sans body, language and literature. Standing proud and tall, there is a testimonial claim that atomizes the energy circle around it, fragmenting yet building the figure with disk-like forms to mass the body and message.

The grammar of Nandagopal’s artistic language is linearity and lightness of form in his welded copper and brass sculptures. The buoyancy of stance adopted by his subjects, tethered yet propelled forward by the wheel in some cases, is seamlessly executed. Skilled at exemplifying simple acts to profound statements, the sculptor’s dexterity of medium and communicative expertise is laced with a deep understanding of relationships and balance.

Sisir Sahana’s sensitivity   as a   sculptor    explores   deeper   than the labyrinth of organic forms that serenade in a maze of metamorphic world titled ‘Herbs Within.' The technique acquired through practice and international exposure engages perception  from the viewer. Mastering mind over matter, light and space   reveal the organic interfaces that  are   important aesthetic objects in their own right. Poetry and verse take on a new meaning with his lyrical shapes that converse with  light and are bathed in a translucency mystifying the optical illusion. The kaleidoscope of colours that emerges within the looking glass, rhythmically swims in  a foetus that inspires to interact, heightening the sensory nerves to touch and tap the energy.

Shalini Biswajit’s figures in Stainless Steel brush aside the details and pattern the obvious in a caricatural spin with a beginning and no end. Journeying with the essence, it occupies a new ecology that plays with wit and texts - a common code of connoted and denoted messages. An urban outlook that extols and deifies the Woman and her equation with the bovine is modern in context yet traditional in contemplation, echoing the Now generation of visionaries.

Exploring the same theme and mapping multiple layers of texture, design and colour, Gnana’s sculpture in fibreglass is a visual menagerie, a perceptively merged mass presented in a composition draped in modernity. The unconditional love and intimacy shared by the two is obvious. It is an equation that has been nurtured over a period of time. Lyrical and poetic, his works are evocative of an intuitive experience that brings to the surface the inner spirit of the artist rather than of observed nature.

B.O.Sailesh is a sculptor who is preoccupied with the Yogi, a stature that conjures images that are introspective and frozen in space, capsuled in a state of mind devoid of distraction and worldly agendas. Often sketched with lofty ideals, the Yogi is a question seeking answers. Bending the form to its limit, there is a heightened serenity in the air that is experienced by the voyeur. Life like and true to nature, the distance is bridged by an invitation to journey inward together with the subject to experience the inner bliss.

In the works of Srinivas Reddy, the meditative one merges the self with the universal one to create an euphoria of oneness that forms the underlying truth of most religions. Graphed on the surface, be it in his fibreglass or bronze oeuvres, scenes unfold a course that remains a mystery and revelation is a perception of the viewer. Serene and calm in superlatives, the embryonic form of the sculpture with resemblances to an egg, is where life germinates and maps an umbilical path to merge a meditative mind with the Whole.

Rohini Reddy's great fibreglass busts marry the kitsch art of the market place with the iconic piety associated with rural deified figures. Bold and Beautiful, directly gazing without a blink, the largeness of the features in proportion to the impact is relative. Colour here sensitises the work, making it theatrical, rather like a psychological play featured on the visage.

Touching on multiple domains, Heart of Sculpture has an infinite number  of trajectories flowing through various  mediums, key holing their way to the essence beneath. The tangible pulse that nurtures the core forms the heart of the sculpture.

Shalini Biswajit

Artist and Director, Forum Art Gallery, Chennai

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Heart of Sculpture

An exhibition of sculpture in bronze, fiberglass, stainless steel, glass and granite.