Like painting, modern Indian sculpture has undergone tremendous modification since
the pre-independence days. In fact, in contemporary times the liberties endorsed
by post-modern practices have consciously adulterated the medium of art. Global
influences have provided unimaginable flexibility and advantages. Mediumistic
concerns have especially pushed around the comfort of beauty, but still the traditional
artists have followed. Mixed media in the 2-dimensional genre and installations
in the 3-dimensional have altered its semblance to innumerable complexities. In
other words, the importance of the visual is placed upon the materials used to
fabricate the spectacle called art.
"Structures", the sculpture exhibition curated by Rohini Iyengar, may be mounted for the public in such difficult times, but the pace of visual communication here is sagacious. The presence of merely six sculptors with not more than three submissions each renders the space easy. Sculptors D L N Reddy, Hari Prasad, Rama Krishna, Rohini Reddy, Shyam Sunder and Srinivas Reddy may not be avant-garde in their practices, but a conscious effort is invested to evolve a modern image with endemic essence.
DLN Reddy, a product of the Baroda art school is basically trained to be a printmaker, but his vigorous involvement in other mediums sets him apart as a versatile artist. A teacher of fine arts at the S N School of the University of Hyderabad, D L N displays a distinct spirit of experimentation that is rooted in gradual maturity.
The bronze head of a girl to the two assemblages are fragmentary products from his workshop, and any statements regarding his dexterity and thorough process can put things superficially, but whatever is exhibited is commendable. Working with no set pre-occupations, DLN shifts from image to image, indulging not in emotions (or maybe in spurts once in a while) but in the sheer process of making art.
If the bronze cast illustrates the fundamentals of realism worked out by the artists, then the assemblages showcase the creativity that he applies to the ready-made objects - knives in this case. The invented image generates the aesthetic that supports this work.
Hari Prasad from Vizag is a revelation. Exhibiting for the first time in Hyderabad, Prasad comes across as a skilled artist who can invest convincing concepts in a conventional process of stone chipping. Of his four sculptures, the most interesting are "Contemplation" and "Car". The simple curvature of a turtle and the application of four wheels modify a registered image and offer the spectator some wit to gratify their view.
"Contemplation" can again be kept in the humor category. The sharply carved head resting on a wooden pillow has Ganesha sculpted out of the same medium chiseling the mother image. The other elephant, in relief over the same head, gets the viewer into an elephantine contemplative mode. "Fishermen" and the "Reclining Head" certify the skill of this artist.
Ramakrishna's reliefs in ceramic, terracotta and stone may not facilitate his graduation from his concept, but the use of the medium definitely invites the viewer for a closer inspection. The heads in fired terracotta against the stone background are meticulous images of a stylized character.
Shyam Sunder, colleague of DLN Reddy at the S N School, is yet another versatile artist. The boldness of his articulation lies in providing a broad hint in his work. At times narrative and sometimes blunt, he engages us in characters he etches out from his observations. The untitled work in wood - the chipped tree on a flight of three stairs and the man standing against this image (also in wood) - juxtaposes the contradictions of nature. The energetic motion of man could be a dangerous move whereas a mute nature is far more complimentary than the dynamism of humankind. Nevertheless, Shyam Sunder leaves both his works untitled so that the viewer can establish his own interpretations.
Rohini Reddy's heads in fiber glass titled "Journey with Nature" restore the romance between man and nature, while her husband Srinivas Reddy fabricates a dream in sprouted mushrooming heads in wood. An uncluttered display gives a good breathing space between concept and convention.