Photos from The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art of India @ Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Untitled (2008), Rotating matka (earthen pot), motorized rotational mechanism | Artist: Sudarshan Shetty

Over the weekend, I visited the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and saw The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art of India exhibition. I found myself making my way back to Sudarshan Shetty’s installation work. Both Untitled pieces (the above from his ‘Saving Skin’ series and the one below from his ‘Stab’ series) intrigued me. Although the mechanism tipped the pot back and forth with a constant, even rhythm that mimicked human movement, the piece presented tension and discomfort. The overall work presents the duality of new and old technologies

As noted on the exhibition placard for his work, the pot is a part of a series that ,

…recalls the loss of connection with earth and body, represented by the traditional earthen pot, in an increasingly mechanized universe.

~Source: YBCA exhibition placard

Untitled (2010), Wooden Chair, paint on fiberglass, neon | Artist: Sudarshan Shetty

Similarly, the intricately wooden chair coupled with something modern and contrasts with tradition. The relationship of the old and modern world presents the strain between tradition in a rapidly evolving world.

Artificial Strawberry Flavor-1 (2008), Corian cabinet, fiberglass bottles, oil, acrylic | Artists: Thukral & Tagra

I’m not sure if it’s the abundance of red coupled with the quantity of highly rendered oil and acrylic paintings on each bottle (some easily identified as Hershey’s Cocoa Powder and syrup containers) but this piece worked extremely well. It provided commentary on the nature of consumerism and vibrancy of pop culture imagery in Punjabi society.

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Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos is a writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research areas and interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, networked culture, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She is currently the managing editor for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and Public Art Dialogue. She has lectured and spoken at the De Young museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” has been published to The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture in 2016. She serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism, board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center, and teaches at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Digital Art and New Media department.

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