Sunday, August 28, 2011

About Neo Monsters

'Neo Monster' is an installation project by Vibha Galhotra involving an larger than life size Earth Mover Machine made out of an inflated balloon. This work is a continuation of a half a decade long engagement with the 'city'. Her reaction to the fast changing gigantic urbanity all around us, has been that of awe and works explored this awe, fascination, fear and anxieties. Her works speak of the growth, evolution and transformation of a city into a globalised identity. She usually uses non-traditional materials to create large-scale, highly tactile pieces.

Vibha Galhotra loves to engage with these zones of play, wit, nostalgia and materiality. One of the few artists of our times capable of re defining what a sculpture is, for years now, Vibha has been feeling restricted by gallery spaces. In the last few years she has been exploring possibilities of presenting her work in interactive public spaces. Her desire to explore materiality and experiment with large scale sculpture, combine with believe that her engagement with City, Histories and Desire can only take more meaning in dialogue with a larger public. With Neo Monster, Vibha proposes a new fantasy toy which plays with, what the notions of desire and development mean in our age.

Awe, fascination, fear, anxieties and joy get evoked by this giant like inflatable Earth Moving Machine toy. These machines have grown to symbolize, large scale construction and rising consumerism. Even as Vibha is firmly entrenched in the grand metropolis, trees and open skies have been entrenched in her since early days at Chandigarh and Shantiniketan. All the magnificence and strength of these handsome Earth movers cannot erase the memories of all the trees uprooted and all the forests and play grounds destroyed by these very machines. It is this conjecture between nostalgia and development that Neo Monsters is born out of.

Play, Fun and Innocence become central characters, in the story of nostalgia Vibha weaves. Presented as a toy the Earth Mover Machine looses its destruct might, and (yet) becomes transformed into a magical monster. The artist believes that such toys would be a part of our future as developments in urban culture changes the way we dress , play and recreate. The artist firmly believes that planned development is possible without the indiscriminate destruction of nature. At the same time the Earth Mover Machine is also a toy of our age, we use it to destroy nature and habitat at will. The power of this huge new toy has made us forget the merits of planning. We are destroying nature using our new large mechanical toys.

This combination of irony and futurism in Neo Monster makes us confront the frictions between longing and desire.

rahul bhattacharya

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