FEA­TURE

The Sunday Guardian - - Artbeat -

In his lat­est solo show, on view at Delhi’s Vadehra Art Gallery, artist Gigi Scaria seems to be say­ing, “You can have ev­ery­thing you want, but at what cost?” En­ti­tled Ecce Homo: Be­hold the man or How One Be­come What One Is, the ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes Scaria’s sculp­tures, drawings and videos all cre­ated in re­cent years.

The artist takes the name of the ex­hi­bi­tion from the ti­tle of the fi­nal book writ­ten by the Ger­man philoso­pher Friedrich Ni­et­zsche. The philoso­pher be­lieved that a su­per­hu­man is one who has the abil­ity to ma­noeu­vre through all the chal­lenges that life throws at him.

For this show, Scaria ex­tends Ni­et­zsche’s idea and shows the con­se­quences a man could suf­fer in or­der to be­come su­per­hu­man af­ter the Ni­et­zschean model. He places his works un­der his pre­ferred theme of the ur­ban life and its ef­fect on hu­mans. Scaria looks at so­cio-po­lit­i­cal con­di­tions in an ur­ban con­text and of­fers a mix of se­ri­ous and play­ful metaphors through his art.

Con­vic­tion is a set of three drawings by Scaria on dis­play here. In one of th­ese drawings, the artist refers, through the torso of a male fig­ure, to the Hindu de­ity Hanu­man, who, in keep­ing with mythol­ogy, has his chest split open. In the mytho­log­i­cal ver­sion of this story, the im­age of Lord Ram re­sides in Hanu­man’s heart, now ripped open for all to see. But in Scaria’s take, what we see in­side the man’s heart is not Ram’s im­age, but flash­ing dig­i­tal signs of play, pause and play. “Nowa­days, too much of re­li­gios­ity in our sur­round­ings makes you a pup­pet in some­one’s hand,” says Scaria. This art­work makes you think of the self­de­clared su­per­hu­mans in our sur­round­ings.

In an­other of his art­work, which is a video en­ti­tled Dis­claimer, a sim­i­lar power struc­ture is seen. “It was the news of lynch­ings that made me make this video,” says Scaria. In the nine-minute video, we see hands of a ma­gi­cian who is shown play­ing Three Cup Shuf­fle, a pop­u­lar trick game where one places dif­fer­ent ob­jects un­der dif­fer­ent bowls and the viewer has to judge the place­ment of the ob­jects af­ter the trick­ster shuf­fles the bowls. In an­other scene, there’s a vil­lage and sev­eral dead bod­ies. “I made the video in such a way that it seems it is the ma­gi­cian who is do­ing all th­ese tricks,” says Scaria.

The sculp­tures are the most ap­peal­ing of his art­works on dis­play at the show. He has used clas­si­cal fig­u­ra­tive style in mak­ing th­ese sculp­tures, which are small in size and are placed on the walls. “I knew that I wanted sculp­tures but on the walls of a gallery be­cause it is the high-re­lief style that I re­ally like,” says Scaria.

A fine ex­am­ple of Scaria’s mas­tery of this form is a bronze piece ti­tled Ringa Ringa Roses. It de­picts fe­male fig­ures hold­ing hands while stand­ing in a cir­cle. “One can see the var­i­ous per­spec­tive of the sculp­ture. I was mak­ing it more like a draw­ing

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