The Visual Arts Gallery at India Habitat Centre welcomes viewers with an ocean wave, literally. Acclaimed sculptor Satish Gupta’s tall sculpture, titled The Cosmic Wave, made of copper with patina, brass and stainless steel — as part of his latest solo “Roaring Sea – Still Mind” — is reminiscent of his resplendent Surya sculpture, a golden statue of the sun god, at Delhi airport’s Terminal 3. Returning with a solo after three years, Delhi-based Gupta talks about mortality in this one, as the accompanying text mentions how humans leave behind footprints by building monuments like the Pyramids and Taj Mahal. It says: “We are very conscious and aware of our footprints, which in a sense are our symbols, our search for immortality. We are afraid to die — why, when life is just one flowing river merging with the timeless ocean?”
Gupta’s latest solo comprises sculptures, paintings and installations, offering his renditions on life and its experiences. His canvas Roaring Sea — Still Mind I shows a Buddha-like figure meditating calmly near the ocean. Another painting titled Frozen Tranquility reminds one of the glaciers of Iceland, by showcasing pristine white mountains surrounded by the calming blue colour of the sea. “Last year, I had gone to paint near a beach in Normandy in France. When we arrived, the sea became very rough, and the wind speed was so high that everything was flying away. I started sketching. I saw a friend of mine facing the sea and meditating. It reminded me of finding tranquil in the storm,” Gupta says.
His triptych Roaring Sea and Still Mind traces the large waves and splashes of the sea when its waters hit rocks on the seashore amidst a storm. “The storm became a metaphor for what is happening in the world right now, with all the chaos,” he says.
Gupta, 71, has a plethora of works to his credit, including the monumental sculpture The Buddha Within, depicting a huge replica of Buddha’s head that rests in the gardens of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. He has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, apart from holding 36 solo shows internationally, including at the Shanghai Museum of Modern Art and the Slovene Ethnographic Museum.
Another sculpture, Icarus Falling, depicts large wings in gold — standing tall at seven feet, weighing 40 kgs, formed using copper with gold plating — that hangs in a corner from a thread, turning around like a kinetic artwork. It finds its roots in the story of Icarus from Greek mythology. Gupta elaborates upon the tale of a father and son who used wings to escape the island of Crete, only to have Icarus, the flyer, fall from the sky after the wax that joined his wings melted when he moved closer to the sun.
The exhibition is on till February 3 at IHC, Lodhi Road, Delhi