In the Faridabad based young artist, Vaibhav Sharma, you may find the potential of a new star. Vaibhav is a trained sculptor, who also has interests in digital photography (prints), conceptual assemblages and ‘art povera’ style installations. He comes to me as a surprise as he had been my student at the Rai University (Fine Arts Department- interestingly located at the Badarpur Border) during 2003-2004. Vaibhav was quite unassuming then but the kind of sensitivity and at times aggression that he shows in his works today keep me quite amused.
My effort here is to introduce a very sensitive impermanent piece of installation (in the art povera mode) done by Vaibhav Sharma. He calls it ‘Taandav’. The word connotes, as all of us know, the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. The Chola sculptures show the perfection of Taandav. It is said that when Rodin spent many hours before the Nataraja sculpture at the Madras Museum, the authorities got suspicious of his presence and questioned him to know about his ‘overt curiosity’. The golden equation is palpable in Taandava.
For Vaibhav Sharma, it is not the golden equation that attracts him to the idea of Taandava. Instead, he is drawn to it for its destructive power, the idea of destruction, which could eventually pave way for a new creation.
On the terrace of his house, Vaibhav makes a ‘structure’ out of the dried branches of a guava tree. He paints it red later and at the conjoining part of stems he places a piece of an artificial leopard skin. To suggest the base, with the crushed paper balls, Vaibhav creates cosmic ring, which seems to move clockwise.
(Taandav, a view of the installation)
Vaibhav recalls what inspired him to this work. There was a guava tree behind his house. In those good old days, Faridabad had so many trees. The guava tree used to yield juicy fruits every year. Squirrels and birds were the permanent dwellers there, along with the children from the neighborhood. Recently, the guava tree died. Vaibhav’s father told him that it is time to cut it and clear the place. Vaibhav collected the branches and scales from the tree and thought of doing a work that would suggest the cosmic cycle of birth, existence and death and its endless repetitions. Once the work was done at his terrace, as a private affair to mourn the death of a close ‘friend’, he left it there to disintegrate in its own way.
(Another view from up)
There was a time when art critics looked at a new artist’s work for his/his ‘influences’. But today, I don’t think any critic would impinge on artist’s freedom in that department. With the proliferation of information technology, influences are aplenty, and it is laudable to an extent till it becomes blind copies as in somebody’s digital photography work turning into a sculpture by someone else.
I am more pleased to look at a work of art when it triggers a sort of visual thinking in me. A sculpture/installation could be viewed from different angles and each angle gives you a different feel about the work, evoking strong possible art historical affiliations that help you to see the artist in question as an intelligent person with a complete hold, which could be conscious or sub-conscious, on his art.
‘Taandav’ from this angle tells me something about the ‘Mill Call’ by Ram Kinkar Baij.
(Mill Call by Ram Kinker Baij)
And from this, it shows me how it shows the strong dynamics of this social realist sculpture from SovietUnion.
(A social realist sculpture from Soviet Union)
From this, you may see it as a work with Giacometti’s attitude.
(Sculpture by Giacometti)
(Dog by Giacometti)
Or even K.S.Radhakrishnan’s ‘Chandela Rider’.
(KS Radhakrishnan's Chandeal Rider)
At times, he adopts props and images from his own work.
(Mr.Original, an assemblage by Vaibhav Sharma- Mark the artificial leopard skin)
Then the work slowly vanishes, leaving the traces behind. Then one day that too is gone.
(disintegration of Taandav)
I never thought Faridabad has too many sights like this.
(Digital works by Vaibhav Sharma)
For those who want to see more works by Vaibhav Sharma, some are here.
(Evolution, sculptural installation by Vaibhav Sharma)
(Mutation, sculpture by Vaibhav Sharma)
(Zoom in, Sculpture by Vaibhav Sharma)
(Good Morning, Sculpture by Vaibhav Sharma)