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sepia EYE: Vivan Sundaram

Vivan Sundaram

Image

b. 1943, India

As one of India’s most prolific artists Sundarams’ work refers to perception, memory, history and their intersection with social problems and popular culture. Several of his recent collaborative projects, although very different in aesthetics, involve the use of photographs, found objects, video, and three-dimensional constructs. In these collaborations, Sundaram assumes the role of conductor and curator.

“[Re-Take of Amrita]… is basically an archival family album, a photographic souvenir of the distant past. Thanks to digital technology, however, the pictures are simultaneously old and new. They embody the past the way it survives in the mind: edited, layered, compressed, as if in a dream.” (Holland Cotter, The New York Times, 2008.)

The Trash series explores the social implications and aesthetics of urban waste and second-hand goods. Constructing a huge and fantastical cityscape in his New Delhi studio entirely with garbage, the resulting composite photographs re-imagine the dreams and aspirations of the architect as grand city planner while simultaneously poking fun at the folly of such utopian misadventures. The color and texture of industrial waste, dirty toothbrushes, plastic toys, tin cans, and a sea of empty yogurt containers create panoramas both astonishing and absurd.

Sundaram’s work has been included in countless solo and group exhibitions and international biennials including Shanghai, Johannesburg, Kwangju, as well as in institutions such as; Herning Kunstmuseum; The Queens Museum of Art, New York; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum; National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; and Tate Modern, London. In 2008 his work was shown in “Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art,” at the International Center of Photography, New York. The artist has published over ten books, most recently, Trash (2008), Amrita Sher Gil: An Indian Artist Family of the 20th Century (2007) and Re-take of Amrita (2006).

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