Sudarshan Shetty

Sudarshan Shetty

The Indian artist Sudarshan Shetty is exhibiting for the first time in France with his large-scale installation at the Impasse Beaubourg gallery in Paris. The work is made entirely of miniatures reproductions of India’s most famous monument, the Taj Mahal.

Born in 1961, Sudarshan Shetty grew up and lives in Mumbai. He belongs, with Subdoh Gupta and Atul Dodiya, to a generation of contemporary Indian artists that is making a major impact on the international art scene. Initially trained as a painter, Sudarshan Shetty gradually turned to sculpture and installations. His weird and wonderful pieces combine objects from daily life with skeletons, body fragments and mechanical mechanisms. They encourage the viewer to reflect on the relationship between the animate and inanimate world, between spirituality and consumption. Shetty explains that “the idea is to create a monument from an everyday middle-class object.”

For this installation, Shetty has taken hundreds of small metal replicas of the Taj Mahal and used them to build a space within which visitors come face-to-face with a video sequence showing the same replicas consumed by flames.

The installation is a meditation on absence and the notion of the mausoleum, (the famous 17th century monument was built by Moghal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his deceased wife). It can be read as a commentary on modern Indian society, its mercantilism and the downside of its rampant modernization. Shetty reminds us that “nothing lasts forever, not even expensive art.”

The artist

Born in 1961 in Mangalore, India, Sudarshan Shetty lives and works in Mumbai. Shetty initially trained as a painter, later turning to sculpture and installations which now account for all of his output. A conceptual artist, he is renowned for his enigmatic and often mechanised sculptural installations. His hybrid constructions question the fusion of Indian and Western traditions as well as exploring domestic concerns and the notion of movement.

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