Artepedia: Sudarshan Shetty

Sunday, 19 January 2014 - 1:35pm IST | Agency: DNA

Name: Sudarshan Shetty
Born: 1961, Mangalore
Lives & Works: Mumbai
Education: JJ School of Arts
Famous Works: The Flying Bus, The More I Die The Lighter I Get, This Too Shall pass
Awards: Charles Wallace India Award, Sanskriti Award

Describe Sudharshan Shetty’s practice in three words.

Sunitha Kumar Emmrat, Sudarshan’s gallerist: Rigorous, Poetic and Challenging

Anupam Poddar, collector: imaginative, playful and thought-provoking

Shanay Jhaveri, curator: Precarious, Uncanny and Reified

If you spot a skeleton of an animal or dinosaur too oddly displayed to be in the natural history museum, you’re looking at a Sudarshan Shetty. Ofcourse that doesn’t come close to summing up the breadth of Sudarshan’s practice. From buses with metallic wings and intricately carved wooden doorways to kinetic sculptures and quirky installations, Sudarshan has done it all. His gallerist Sunitha Kumar Emmart remarks that the artist rejects both style and signature and insists on the autonomy of each work of art. “ The works, if imagined as moments in a narrative, remain as fragments pointing not back towards the artist but endlessly towards each other,” she explains.

The Mumbai-based artist is hard to bracket. His playful and sometimes humorous work questions the boundaries of the traditional art object. In 2012, Sudarshan revealed The Flying Bus a commission for Maker Maxity, a double decker bus from the 70s is given stainless steel wings and the inside is converted into a rather unorthodox gallery space. The work has become one of the country’s most important public art commissions.

Sudarshan’s work is part of many major public collections including the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Devi Art Foundation in India and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and the Frank Cohen Museum of Modern Art in Japan and Manchester. The artist continues to experiment with diverse materials and forms, all the while pushing the limits of our notion of art. His new solo will open at SKE in New Delhi and marks a significant moment for both the gallery and the artist. Not only is it the first solo show in the gallery’s new space in the capital, but is also the first time his work will be exhibited in New Delhi since 2003.

So if you’re in Delhi for the India Art Fair this month, make sure to catch Sudarshan’s new body of work. 

Who is Sudarshan watching?
When I first encountered Srinivasa Prasad’s work about five years ago I was struck by the sheer raw energy that he brings to the surface of each of his work. Whether it is the sculptural installations or the performance pieces, the initial sense of awe is compounded by a personal take on the deeply felt issues in his immediate surroundings of the village where he lives, in Shimoga district in Karnataka. Apart from the raw visceral appeal, his work in it’s experience, can be described as brutal, beautiful and universal at the same time.


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