Man of Steel

Man of Steel

Vadodara-based Dhruva Mistry, one of India’s most celebrated sculptors, returns to the Capital with a solo after a gap of eight years

art, talk, sculptor, Dhruva Mistry, nine emotions, navarasa, something else
Recline, a creation by Dhruva Mistry.

After a paralytic attack, Vadodara-based sculptor Dhruva Mistry says his latest exhibition, “Something Else”, is a welcome respite from a painfully slow recovery. He explores the nine emotions — navarasa — in stainless steel. In the summer of 2008, the Sanskrit notion of dream-like illusion and the universe, gave birth to the idea of his current show. We catch up with the artist, whose works occupy spaces in the Victoria Square in Birmingham, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Hakone Open Air Museum in Japan. Excerpts from an interview:

Why did you choose to name your new show “Something Else”?
Art, or any form of expression, which refers to any experience or reality, can never be a direct experience. It is always make-believe. For example, a blind person will not be able to experience a painting in the way others can see the realism and surrealism in it. A horse sculpture is not exactly a horse. This is also what happens with art. It is “something else”, and not direct.

You have explored the female body engaged in various activities, in different dimensions. For instance, in Recline, the silhouette of a voluptuous woman rests sensually on the floor. Other similar silhouettes in the show give the appearance of a body in movement, with arms and legs outstretched to create asana-like postures. What is the idea?
I have used the shape of the torso. I once saw the image of a Chinese man without hands and legs on Facebook, and carefully observed his torso. The torso, in many ways, reveals our condition, and what remains of our body. It signifies life. When you see it in movement in free space, you see various kinds of gestures and postures, just like we see them in fashion magazines and movies. The cut-outs of silhouetted torsos create a metaphorical abstraction that deters perception of female form as popular sex objects.

What is the theme you have worked around in the show?
I have tried to associate colours with emotions. For instance, red may signify love or anger, yellow may appear pleasing, blue depicts melancholy, and black refers to a dark phase. I have used 18 colours in my sets of horizontal and vertical images. Each coloured steel plate, painted with eboxy paint, refers to one of the nine emotions, with a corresponding hue. The cut-outs reveal the beauty of classical rasas such as rati or love, hasya or mirth, karuna or sorrow, rudra or anger, and so on.


What attracts you to your most preferred medium — stainless steel?
Anyone who looks at a painting is willing to pay for a canvas. But stainless steel has the possibility of rusting, going this way or that, and no one would be willing to pay for it over the course of time. I like the unpredictability of the material. I would say it is better than paper and canvas, as it has a certain kind of flatness and stiffness.

The exhibition is on at Art District XIII, Lado Sarai, till April 3. Contact: 9560505946