Sunday, April 17, 2016

Gallery Talk and Lunch with Gigi Scaria

Artist Gigi Scaria was center stage at an opening in the new Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center on Saturday 4/16/16. He was at home in spite of the fact that he would be flying to New York City before returning to his home in New Delhi, India in the next 10 days. The exhibition opening event featured a selection of Indian teas and sweets.

The latest of the Laumeier Conversation Series provides an informal setting for discussion about art. Participants are encourages in this forum to share ideas and ask questions in a relaxed atmosphere. Laumeier Sculpture Park Curator of Exhibitions Dana Turkovic shared a bit about this installment, the latest in this a new series of commissions, collaborations and programs under the theme of New Territories: BRICS, a twist on the economic acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa calls attention to market forces driving the global economy. Gigi Scaria is a follow-up to the exhibition opened in October 2015 by the Raqs Media Collective from New Delhi where  three artists - Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta explored the concepts of fairness in our world. (Raqs outdoor tree installation can still be viewed along trails at Laumeier.)

Gigi Scaria’s towering piece influenced by the woodhenge at Cahokia mounds in neighboring Illinois creates an intriguing gathering place in the gallery.  He visited Cahokia more than two years ago in the context of meetings with Laumeier curatorial staff. Today a work outside is in progress is placed adjacent to the estate house and visible as you make your way into the heart of the park toward the south lawn. Gigi Scaria is interested in symbols and the impact of time on cities around the world.
Scaria’s installation for the Kochi Biennale in 2014 – Chronicle of the Shores Foretold is represented along with two other photos in the gallery. Three video presentations are also a part of the gallery exhibition and give a sense of scale in which Gigi works. Chronicle of the Shores Foretold, demonstrates the artist’s ability to integrate location and legend into large scale public works. A 2.5 ton steel bell lifted into place at a small dock serves as a sort of fountain of Arabian sea water spilling through drilled holes.

Over lunch at Vietnamese Restaurant Pho Grand, the artist gracefully responded to questions about his life and art. He smiles for a group shot with Laumeier’s programs manager, docent co-chairs, and registrar/collections manager. Next week Gigi will be aboard a 15 hour flight to New Dehli and we’ll be richer for having shared tea, conversation and a meal. Small world. 

The Kochi Biennal is an international exhibition of contemporary art held in Kochi, Kerala. It is the first Biennale being held in India an initiative of the Kochi-Biennale Foundation with support from the goverment of Kerala. The exhibition was set in spaces across Kochi, Miziris and surrounding islands. The shows were held in existing galleries and halls, and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings and disused structures.