Press Preview & V.I.P. Reception: Thursday, July 7th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
35 Great Jones St., New York NY 10012
Aicon Gallery New York is proud to present id – od & other dimensions, the first major U.S. solo exhibition of Mumbai-based artist Sunil Gawde. Since his participation in 2009’s Venice Biennale, Gawde has become internationally recognized for his unique sculptural and installation-based works, which blur and question the boundaries between the physical reality of everyday objects and our subjective perceptions of them. Whether embarking on a philosophical exploration inspired by an object itself, or creating an object or tableaux born of an idea, Gawde’s works serve as complex, yet often humorous, visual allegories exposing the absurdities and dualities inherent in our struggle to come to terms with both our history and contemporary life.
The ‘id – od’ of the exhibition’s title, standing for ‘inner dimension – outer dimension’, is taken from a series of newly created mid-scale sculptural works in which many-layered, often ironic narratives have been spun outwards from objects ranging from the everyday to the iconic. Herds of readymade miniature elephants roam amidst the domestic trappings of modern Indian life, while kinetic installations endlessly perform simple repetitive actions, which in turn lead to Sisyphean loops of contemplation in the viewer. The familiar objects juxtaposed in these works project a series of surreal fables and warnings outwards for our interpretation, while simultaneously turning our gaze inwards upon our traditional understanding of their meanings. It is this parallel and two-way exploration of perception versus reality that remains central to Gawde’s practice.
Accompanying the ‘id – od’ series on display are a selection of important large-scale installation pieces spanning the last decade of Gawde’s career. These works not only dig deeper into the dualities and contradictions explored in the works mentioned above, but also highlight the artist’s masterful manipulation of materials in pursuit of the illusionistic perfection required to cement our belief in the physical possibility of the objects and installations themselves. As Gawde has stated:
“…the marriage of philosophy, technique, aesthetics, and material is the foundation of my creative process. An essential element of my sculptures is also the technical skill of the experts I work with. While canvases are a solitary effort, science-based sculptural creations, which have to be aesthetically perfect and structurally sound, require a skillful combination of engineering and art.”
Anchoring these two sets of sculpture in the current exhibition is group of new work building upon Gawde’s past experiments with butterfly forms made of mirrored stainless steel in works such as Virtually Untouchable (2004) and Conquer (2012). These remarkably beautiful organic creatures, precision-cast from cold, glistening, industrialized steel, incorporate Gawde’s recurring motifs of razor blades, swords, and daggers, though which he again plays with dueling notions of beauty and danger, desire and pain, and, more broadly, perception and reality.
Born in Mumbai in 1960, Gawde graduated in Fine Art from the J.J. School of Art in 1980. In 1995, he received the British Council’s Charles Wallace Award for 1995-96, and spent a year as a visiting artist at the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland. Since 1990, Gawde has held more than 11 solo exhibitions worldwide and, in 2009, he was invited to participate in the 53rd Venice Biennale, curated by Daniel Birnbaum. His work has been collected by the National Gallery of Modern Art, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, and the Devi Art Foundation in India, as well as by important international private collections. This is his first major solo exhibition in the United States and his first exhibition with Aicon Gallery.