Exhibition of Recent works by Gigi Scaria at Vadehra Art Gallery
Artist : Gigi Scaria
Title : ECCE HOMO
Behold the man or how one become what one is
Recent Works by Gigi Scaria
Dates and Venue : 1 November to 24 November 2018, Vadehra Art Gallery, D-53, Defence Colony, New Delhi
Vadehra Art Gallery is proud to present Gigi Scaria’s solo exhibition from 1st November to 24th November 2018 at D53, Defence Colony. Titled ‘ECCE HOMO Behold the man or how one become what one is’, the exhibition displays a body of new works including paintings, sculpture and projection.
Man, in the End Times
Man has been presented again and again, in every epoch with a new purpose and conceived in a new image. “Ecce Homo” or “behold, the man” resonates through time equally as an indictment and a prophecy. But all prophecies lead to martyrdom, rather than redemption. All human beings are etched with the memories of their previous versions. From the monstrous to the hedonistic, from the prophetic to the tormented, from the contemplative to the existential and from the revolutionary to the fragmented, alienated, dehumanised, dismembered man of the present, the passage has been enormously lengthy. In each version, man’s nature embodies the Hegelian belief that “the philosophy is an epoch captured in a thought.”
In a history inhabited by various versions of the man, we stand at the cusp of time anticipating a post-human cyborg of the future. Our present bodies are the bridge between the animal and the Nietzschean “superman”. Though we believe that we are at the pinnacle of civilisation, Koonrad Lorenz has pointed out that we haven’t shed our primal instincts. Freud has prophesised that eventually we will be born anew as prosthetic gods armed with artificial auxiliary organs which make us magnificent. The new possibilities of cloning, manipulations of the human stem cells, genetic engineering, artificial selection, mind altering psychotropic drugs, etc., lurk on the horizon making the future of mankind uncertain and ever more contingent on the decisions of today. Mankind or what we understand it to be, Michel Foucault remarked, is washed away like a figure drawn in the sand.
In such apocalyptic times, dystopian anxieties and catastrophic events fog our existence. The urban chronicler of India, Gigi Scaria stands atop this wasteland, like Caspar David Friedrich’s wanderer perched upon a rocky precipice, speculating an ominous new world. Scaria’s recent works, ranging from anthropomorphic sculptures, videos to drawings embody the moral doubts and anxieties regarding the future of the human body and humanity at large. Scaria’s works betray the nihilism of Nietzsche. This body of work draws exhaustively on Nietzsche’s seminal text Ecce Homo: How to Become What You Are. Like Nietzsche, Scaria too charts out an iconoclastic path, he dismantles the existing value systems to offer us a bleak vision of the present and the future. His works postulate that the prophecies of doom have become the songs of the sirens in our time, enticing and irresistible, but ultimately fatal. By foregrounding the human body and its contemporary experience, Scaria develops an artistic elegy for the time and human body. In his worldview the human body is a slave to an apparatus of production and consumption, doomed to fulfil its desires but remain eternally ravenous.
(Excerpts from Premjish Achari’s long essay Man, in the End Times)
Gigi Scaria was born in Kothanalloor, a village in southern Kerala, India, in 1973. In 1995, after completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram, Scaria moved to New Delhi where he undertook a Master of Arts at Jamia Millia Islamia.
By 2000, increased international exposure was accompanied by prestigious residency opportunities and solo exhibitions in India, Germany, America, Hungary, the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. In 2002, Scaria was awarded an Inlaks Scholarship, and was artist-in-residence at UNIDEE, Cittadellarte- Pistoletto Foundation, Biella, Italy. Scaria’s creative repertoire includes painting, photography, installation, sculpture, and video.
Scaria’s first project for an American museum, City unclaimed was held in 2013 at the Smart Museum of Art, the University of Chicago. Scaria’s solo exhibitions Absence of an architect (Palette art gallery ,New Delhi), Amusement park (Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai, 2009), Difficult to imagine, easy to construct (Art Asia Miami, 2008), Site under construction (Videospace Budapest, 2008), and Triviality of everyday existence (the National Art Studio, Changdong, Republic of Korea, 2008), featured video art that included interviews (fictional and non-fictional), documentaries and animation.
In 2010 Scaria participated in West Heavens, the first major artistic engagement between India and China. The exhibition Place time play: India-China contemporary art, was displayed at various venues by the Shanghai International Culture Association, Institute of Visual Culture, China.
The following year Scaria was one of five artists to represent India at the 54th Venice Biennale in the exhibition Everyone agrees: it’s about to explode, curated by Ranjit Hoskote.
In 2011Scaria’s work was presented at the 3rd Singapore Biennale as well as in Crossroads: India escalates for the Prague Biennale.
In 2012 Scaria participated in the Oz Asia Festival exhibition The needle on the gauge: the testimonial image in the work of seven Indian artists, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide, and he created a sculptural installation for the exhibition Tropical heat: new art from South Asia at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand. His work also appeared in Critical mass at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the first major exhibition to introduce contemporary Indian art to the Israeli public. Gigi Scaria was a 2012 University of Melbourne Macgeorge Fellow, and presented an exhibition of video works at the Ian Potter Museum of Art as part of the Melbourne Festival. In 2013 his first solo in Australia titled “Dust” took place at the Ian Potter Museum, Melbourne.
In 2014 Scaria participated in Kochi Muziris Beinnale titled Whorled Explorations curated by Jitish Kallat. In 2015 his next major solo exhibition took place in Gallery Chemould, Mumbai titled “The Ark”. In 2016 he has exhibited a large-scale steel sculpture at Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, USA. At the same time he also had a solo exhibition “Time” at the Adam Aronson Fine Art Center.
In 2017 his major solo exhibition was held at Aicon Gallery, NewYork. The show is titled “All about this side” which includes a new set of bronze sculptures along with paintings, photographs and video installations. An exhibition of selected works by Scaria titled Iconic Interruptions on Mahatma Gandhi was held at Frederic Jameson Gallery, Duke University in September 2017.
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