Sculptor Arzan Khambatta’s approach to his art is, quite simply, to keep it simple. You get what you see: Clean and witty sculptures, talking about our everyday lives.
So for Freeze Frames, his first solo show in five years, the idea of simplicity continues. The artist has created 50 works from iron, copper, wood and stainless steel for his show at the Jehangir Art Gallery from October 12 to 17.
Why 50? “Simply because I turned 50 this February,” says Khambatta.
As usual, he doesn’t stick to one theme. “That’s not my style,” he says. “While listening to music, reading a newspaper or a magazine or while travelling or talking to people, an image is created in my head and when it becomes compelling enough, I turn it into sculpture.”
This show doesn’t have a central theme either. It loosely explores the virtues of a self-made man and how technology has taken over our lives, with works featuring pun-intended titles.
Suit Yourself, a copper and iron sculpture of a man holding a coat, his chin held high, comes across as being about an achiever who doesn’t give a damn about what others think of him. “He knows he is right and the immaculate suit further emphasises his strength and grace,” says Khambatta.
Another work, Techno Notice, made of carved wood and iron, features a man wearing wires, surrounded by an MP3 player, a tablet, a smartphone and a laptop. It’s a comment on how wired our lives have become. “Earlier, while travelling on a highway, we would see and spot new things, even if it was just a cow,” says Khambatta. Today, we zip by those roads with our heads in our phones, completely isolated from the world just outside. “That’s scary,” says Khambatta.
The artist has been busy these five years. He’s worked on commissioned projects and works for group shows in India and abroad. Back with a show, he is looking forward to interacting with city’s audience, which has almost always reacted positively to his art. “This is because my works aren’t complicated. Viewers don’t feel the need to understand or analyse it to enjoy it,” says Khambatta.
If they do, he is always available. “During my show at Jehangir, I don’t event step out for lunch. You never know when an interesting conversation might begin. I don’t want to miss any of it.”
WHERE: Jehangir Art Gallery, MG Road, Fort
WHEN: October 12 to 18, 10.30am to 7pm. Open all days
ENTRY IS FREE