Sep 25, 2010 - Oct 31, 2010


Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

The exhibition was the first of a series of exhibitions curated by Tasneem Zakaria Mehta titled ‘Engaging Traditions’, which invites artists to respond to the Museum’s collection, history and archives. Shetty's work questions the premise of the Museum, any museum, its existence and the aura of authority it exudes. 

Shetty’s art offers a subtle critique on the idea of the ‘Museum object’ as objects that were once markers of high taste or imbued with the sanctity of ritual, are now no longer relevant except as a “memory bank” as their meaning has been voided both in terms of use and symbol.

Each artwork in the show is a staged event flaunting its moment of truth and glory. “It's the dystopia of the city where the tenses are confused and the unreal becomes real” says Shetty.

This installation illustrates a crashed car that takes on a new life through manipulation of material.

Instead of symbolizing its horror, the material seduces the viewer with its texture and colour. Displayed as a trophy it underscores the dark side of art production and consumption.

In the Museum's central atrium, standing in front of the statue of Prince Albert, was a life-size gilded sculpture depicting a toppled statue of the artist on a worn out pedestal. Mechanically linked to the statue was a coin-box, which would act as counter weight and would gradually resurrect the statue as enough coins were put into it.

Shetty's work questions the premise of the Museum, any museum, its existence and the aura of authority it exudes.

This signage was mounted above the portraits in the Founders' gallery

This forbidding installation was of a skeletal rocking horse, made of Aluminum and Wood.

In the Origins of Mumbai Gallery, among panoramas of lazy 19th century streets, a beautifully carved chair, redolent with colonial ceremony, bleeds even as its neon sign incongruously advertises 'SCAR'.

In the central room of the Special Exhibitions Gallery, a magnificent oversized cage reminiscent of a palatial entrance entices the viewer with its scale and beauty.

Carved on either side is the mythical tree of life. The entrance beckons while a sword swings menacingly in its recesses, like a pendulum slicing time.

A 'chabutra' (bird feeder), a common sight in the city, has been vandalized and it oozes pixelated blood that threatens to engulf the gallery.

We are reminded that violence has lost its ability to repel as we become inured to images that we see daily on our TV screens and in other media.

In this work, a feather cleans a small display case, ominously repeating an action that will in the end cause its own destruction.

Sudarshan Shetty
Credits: Story

All artworks courtesy Sudarshan Shetty from the exhibition, 'This too shall pass' at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (September 25, 2010 - October 31, 2010)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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