Gagawaka: Making Strange: Vivan Sundaram
These here are hybrids whichever way you look at them: recycled trash, found objects, bazaar buys, luxury throwaways. They are sheltering sculptures, sculptural garments, garment effigies. They are amputated mannequins, props and tailors’ dummies, and also elaborately crafted objects courting beauty. On occasion these hybrids are wearable art, they are fashion, they are stuff for masquerade that you parade with models and music. Or present as avantgarde performance. Or display as art objects in a white cube, or stage theatrically between and against art installations that are ruins of the artist’s –Vivan Sundaram’s – work stacked in a warehouse/studio, brought out for public airing as coffined, crated mummies. The ruins stand by as support for this new production of things. These ephemeral shapes, these thingy spooks that lean on and embellish the armature provided here by Sundaram’s ambitious constructions.
Beginning and ending as waste, is this some kind of an assault even as it is some kind of a seduction – or is it some kind of a disciplined estrangement that covers the ground between? The assault is on a commoditized civilization. The seduction is of course that perennial double-drive: the erotic entangled with death. So it is about infancy, about worlds unspooled in play and thence into entropy from where histories recommence to contend with daily cycles of destruction. It is wholly material, this trash and merchandise – so irrepressibly material that you see and smell leather shoes and rubber tyres, kitchen scrubbers and drainpipes, diapers and bras, medicines and medical accessories. If this is art, craft and fashion, it is also labour, use and exchange. Gallery-rats can spot a ‘urinal’ in an exhibition display. These erotic, abusive, in-the-face objects deploy material manufacture and excess of embodiment to endorse the uncanny.
It is then a surreal encounter, whichever way you get at it.
In association with fashion designer Pratima Pandey and with the assistance of Tanmay Gupta