Artist Sonal Ambani speaks about her latest show, Transcendental Time, at KCC
She has always been very deeply affected and pained by the steady distancing of nature from urban life and she has sought to bridge that ever-widening gap through her sculptures in her three-decade-long career. An interplay of stainless steel, fibre and brass, Sonal Ambani’s thought-provoking installations are bound to leave a lasting imprint in the viewer’s mind, just like her latest work, Transcendental Time, currently on display at Kolkata Centre for Creativity.
The robust steel installations leave us in a state of deep realisation about how fundamentally important a role time plays in our lives. “Happiness is in the present and most of us end up wasting time either reflecting on our past or pondering over our future, thereby losing the precious moments passing by. Besides, technology, which has otherwise helped in connecting remote dots in our lives, has actually come in between all of us. I see kids immersed in playing online games with friends rather than playing outside and adults immersed in their cell phones rather than interacting with their friends, which is sad,” says the effervescent Ambani, looking resplendent in a black and white dress and pearls.
Intent upon recreating the delicate bond between nature and urbanisation, which have actually become two diverse ecosystems, Sonal has adorned the sculptures with her symbolic peace sign, a theme that is at the core of her work. “I have intentionally kept all my sculptures open to interpretation, the idea being to let the viewer draw his/her own conclusions by reflecting upon their own life experiences,” she tells us.
Her sculptures are grounded in nature, juxtaposing elements of modern lives and the unconventional. Among all her installations, the stainless steel elephant recurs in all her themes and seems to be her favourite symbol of peace and happiness. “The elephant sculptures have been considered lucky by most of my patrons with orders pouring in. One even found a home in Switzerland after being displayed at the India Art Fair in 2015,” recalls the Ahmedabad-based artist, who also runs Samara Art Gallery there to encourage young and upcoming Gujarati artists.
The aim of her latest body of work is to take a dig at the core of the fundamentals, not to destroy the foundation but to build upon it through the sheer power of raw experience. The Little Blue Screen, for example — a mammoth globelike structure built with countless pieces of steel plates inscribed with logos of corporate giants and a little flickering blue screen inside its belly — denotes how we are completely drowned in the virtual world of the Internet, often ignoring our true self and close ones. There’s also a resilient bull made with delicately welded currency inscribed steel plates, that will stun you with its philosophical note. The weighing scales inside the bull’s hollow stomach with a few coins on one side makes you acutely aware of prioritising your needs and wants.
In fact, all the stunning sculptures including Bliss, Ethereal Value, Love Has Two Faces, Freedom, Entropy, and XOXO will make you frighteningly conscious of the inexorable march of time and urge you to take charge of it and utilise it positively.
Sonal Ambani’s Transcendental Time, an Art Experience will be on display at Kolkata Centre for Creativity till March 25.