Pots, pans, footwear, rolled-up bedding, a metallic field, a gunny sack: these are the meagre possessions that talk to us of a household’s life. It’s simple to imagine that the household in query is poor, and that these possessions have been deserted in haste, however that’s not all that artist Sudarshan Shetty would need you to consider.
In a 2019 work titled Items Earth Left Behind, Shetty displayed 99 items of wood sculptures, every modeled on an object that he present in Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar, a spot the place outdated, disused gadgets discover a new lease of life. Not solely had been these objects discards (a meat grinder, a pair of worn out canvas footwear), many had been issues that had been not accessible (a Steenbeck flatbed movie editor, as an illustration). By additional rendering them into wood sculptures, Shetty turned these functionless objects into simulations, virtually devoid of any unique which means. The viewer was free to make of it what they willed.
Standing 7 ft tall, this new work is carved out of re-used wooden that has been collected from varied dismantled buildings in and round Mumbai. It too, makes references to family objects. And like his 2019 work, it too gives no simple interpretation. “Whereas this piece could open up an area for a number of tales of the imaginary particular person in query, it could additionally evoke a way of a foreboding absence. The fabric actuality of the piece makes it referential to a perceived actual scenario. It’s, nonetheless, fictionalised,” Shetty mentioned.
In fact, the rapid connection one would make is with migrant employees who left the town quickly after the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25, as their work and earnings dried up. However Shetty additionally needs the viewer to take a pause and ask different questions — what makes us collect objects, as an illustration; what can we select to discard, and maintain.
If the pandemic has made us look at our interdependence as a group — concurrently vectors and victims of a virus — it has additionally led some to relook at materials possession all collectively. In some ways Shetty’s work does that too. He makes use of materials to take the viewer exterior the artwork work and relook on the operate of objects anew. “It’s telling a narrative that’s exterior of itself,” Shetty mentioned.
In his 2017 work Shoonya Ghar —comprising large-scale wood installations and a multi-channel video work —Shetty learn nirgun poetry of Gorakhnath and Kabir, and located it intriguing how couplets from a convention that flourished practically 900 years in the past posited opposing concepts to make a bigger, composite level. It’s an method that he brings to his different works, as properly. His items — discovered, sculptural, constructed — open up a universe of which means.
Sudarshan Shetty is a up to date artist whose sculptural works are a part of a number of necessary collections, in India and globally. He was the curator of the 2016 version of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.