Incredible India? Artist Gigi Scaria video bite – The Guardian

Indian artist Gigi Scaria takes viewers to installation sites in New Delhi as he talks about his multidimensional art.

In the short film “Seven Artists in Delhi: Gigi Scaria”, the first in a series of videos about Indian artists working in Delhi published by The Guardian in 2011, Scaria talks about how, through his art, he explores the socio-cultural hierarchies created through architecture and city planning.



As he takes viewers around New Delhi, Scaria explains how he creates contrasts by displaying his sculptural installations against the backdrop of the urban landscape of the city.

At 1:15 – “I do work with the city’s social and architectural space… it’s a kind of contrast between these two ironies… one is that, you don’t have a space to live, on the other side you have lots of space, so this was something that I was trying to capture.”

At 1:46 – “For me it’s more of a symbolic way in which authority looks at progress. It’s like the slogan ‘incredible India’, which [has been] one of the successful slogans [over the past] ten years. How do you make it incredible? You can’t make it incredible by the amount of poverty which we have or the amount of slums we have. We can call India incredible in many aspects.”

Gigi Scaria, ‘Post’, 2008, sculpture: wood, mirror glass, electric bulb and paint, 2.5 feet x 10 inches x 12 feet. Image courtesy Chemould Prescott Road.

Gigi Scaria, ‘Post’, 2008, sculpture: wood, mirror glass, electric bulb and paint, 2.5 feet x 10 inches x 12 feet. Image courtesy Chemould Prescott Road.

Migration and displacement

Gigi Scaria (b. 1973) is a painter, sculptor and video artist. He creates site-specific sculptural installations on the theme of migration and displacement. In an artist’s note on his website he says,

With these narratives I am aiming to generate a multidimensional dialogue within the social system that I am a part of. Even though the boundaries are marked and specified this is an attempt to respond and negotiate.

As independent critic and curator Gayatri Sinha writes in an essay, also published on the artist’s website, “Gigi’s particular position is to investigate how city structures, social constructs, and the view of location is translated into social prejudice and class attitude.”

Gigi Scaria, ‘Panic City’, 2006, single channel video with sound (duration: 3 minutes). Image courtesy Chemould Prescott Road.

Gigi Scaria, ‘Panic City’, 2006, single channel video with sound (duration: 3 minutes). Image courtesy Chemould Prescott Road.

Art career to date

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in painting from the College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) in 1995, Scaria moved to New Delhi and obtained an M.A. in painting from the Jamia Millia University in 1998. He lives and works in New Delhi today.

His work has been included in notable international exhibitions of contemporary Indian art. He was represented by Videospace at FIAC 2010 and featured in “Tolstoy Farm: Archive of Utopia”, curated by Gayatri Singha in 2011, and the third Singapore Biennale, curated by Russell Storer and Trevor Smith in 2011. Scaria also received wide recognition for his interactive video installation, Elevator from the Sub-continent, part of the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.

 JP/KN/HH

Related Topics: Indian artists, contemporary art in New Delhisite-specific artvideo interviews with artists

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