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Chennai | 50 Indian sculptors showcase their work at this art exhibition

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Chennai | 50 Indian sculptors showcase their work at this art exhibition

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A collection of sculptures on display

A collection of sculptures on display
| Photo Credit: special arrangement

At Nungambakkam’s tucked-away Art Houz gallery stands metal, wood and ceramic in all shapes, sizes and forms; 52 of them precisely. Delicate human figures, wooden animals stitched with leather and fabric, ceramic plates, and even large monochrome blocks in clay, all take up space. Here, a cross section of India’s contemporary sculpture landscape comes alive. Titled AI 50, the show is an offshoot of AI 100, a similar outing that focussed on painting last year.

“The show invites viewers to contemplate the interplay between form, material and theme,” says Poornima Shivram, curator. The power of connection and communication stands at the core of the collection, she says.

M Basavaraj’s Face 5

M Basavaraj’s Face 5
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

The small gallery space packs everything — from forms and figures that capture the very essence of human experience to literal animal figures that exude techniques of a medium that is hard to master. In senior artist Venkatachalapathi’s winding bronze sculpture titled Harmony, it is hard to miss the marriage of classical and modernist influences.

While the form itself may seem abstract, his familiarity with the medium of bronze speaks volumes of the artist’s decades of experience with sculpting. S Kantha Reddy’s large, almost turquoise piece in bronze titled Capcut is hard to miss. A little surrealist, the piece, much like his famed body of work, maps the tussle between the pace of urban life and traditional values, showing a weary face bogged down by protruding threads of molten metal. Face 5, a large side profile of a bust by M Basavaraj, made in fibreglass, is another distinctive attempt at capturing the natural world in all its mystique. 

Elanchezhiyan’s sculpture

Elanchezhiyan’s sculpture
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

G Subramaniam’s small sculpture of a girl wielding a flute, titled Flute Player, is nothing short of a delight. The artist known for his collages started experimenting with sculptures in 2019. “I lost my daughter when she was nine years old. This May 19, she would have turned 40,” he says. The artist’s famed ‘girl’ series is an ode to his late daughter and his early memories of her. “Though I was very interested in bronze, my preoccupation with the girl series stayed even through my collages,” adds the artist who finds solace in the ‘lost wax method’ when it comes to sculptures. Shanta Samantha’s 2020 work titled Jumping, shares a similar sensibility; the figure of a girl, mid-leap is somehow indicative of wild abandon and joyous liberation. The detailing in both these works make the forms seem nimble, and delicate.  

Among the greats stand quirky, contemporary collectibles too. Neelam Chauhan’s piece that is reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s painting Scream is one such. Srinia Chowdhury’s small paper clay ceramic work is a welcome burst of colour, and invites one to reflect on the societal conditioning imposed on toys from our childhood. 

In condensing a cross section of India’s sculpting practice in a white cube space, the diverse collection invites viewers to look beyond surface aesthetics, and dig deeper, concludes Poornima.

AI 50 will be on show till May 30 at Art Houz gallery, Nungambakkam. For details, call 7397745684

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