Outdoor sculptures have a way of involving several aspects like — weather elements, materials, visual aesthetics as well as simulation of intellect. The sculpture has to be seen in totality. How the geometries and textures of the works synergise with all these aspects is particularly engaging to viewers. For this reason alone, outdoor sculptures need to seen more often in public spaces.
Most of Kalyan Rathore’s sculptures at Active Canvas Gallery are basking outdoors in winter’s mild sunlight. Rathore, who has done more than 40 sculptures so far, has chosen architectural steel for his current works. With an industrial design background, he is very comfortable with the material. He explains, “I carry a background of science and industrial design and I use this to put a fresh appeal to my works. Without adequate knowledge, an artist may fumble with materials.” Talking of his works, Rathore says, “Steel may be hard on the hands but once you know how the metal behaves, it is easy. I do the cut-outs in such a manner that it can bend to form 3D shapes of my choice. It is something like origami. No one may believe that I have bent steel with my bare hands!”
He prefers steel for its practicality and aesthetics. “Since stainless steel is highly reflective, by virtue of just changing the angles of the surface planes, I can create different light tones and shadows,” says Rathore. To create a multiplicity of shadows and lighted surfaces, both science and art are involved.
He recollects, “When I conceptualised the designs, I was struck by the similarity in the forms, be it a beetle or the bull. Just like life forms begin from one cell, I have tried to make the forms in an organic way. In all my works, the shapes are toggled to attain its dynamic postures.” Hence, the show is titled ‘Verbs in Steel’ in order to represent the dynamism of forms.
There are two big sculptures kept outdoors called ‘Pleasant Invasion’ of fauna in urban spaces. Storks and beetles on them are poised for taking off on a vertical axis. A multi layered bull is the third big sculpture also displayed outdoors. Viewing it is a complex experience of light, space and shadows. The bull’s head is made of one sheet and the torso with another. The ‘most complexed figure is that of a mermaid-like figure which is made out of a single sheet and hugs a coconut tree. Smaller sculptures are kept indoors and encompass a collection of beetles, ants, a T-Rex and a ball like Nucleus. Two simple Buddhas in steel cast a meditative feel to the collection. One only wishes that the outdoor landscape was better prepared so as to accommodate his works in a more suitable manner. Rathore informs that there are talks in the pipeline to display his smaller works in Houston as well as Delhi and Chennai.
‘Verbs In Steel’: Sculpture show by Kalyan Rathore is on at Active Canvas till February 23.