Susanta Mandal uses soap solution and an electric motor to make bubble ‘sculptures’ that form and burst in a continual reinvention of themselves. In his words, he ‘explores the play of structured, static forms with the ephemeral and fragile’. The interaction of steel structures and soap bubbles is immensely engaging. The bubbles turn into protagonists who seem to be performing as they breathe onto solid steel.
These sculptures raise pertinent and amusing questions about the nature of art and the artist’s role in producing it. Here, the artist can control the amount of air that the motor pumps into the tray, but he cannot dictate the form and shape of the final work.To what extent is the sculpture ‘his’? When the electric motor is switched off, and we are left with a tray of soap solution, will this still be a work of art?