Gigi Scaria: City Unclaimed
January 19 – December 8, 2013
Gigi Scaria, installation view of City Unclaimed, 2013, Mixed media including epoxy, digital print, motor system, paint, plastic, polyerethane, and water. Courtesy of the Artist. Commissioned by the Smart Museum of Art.
Revealing the complex layers and stark contrasts of Delhi, Indian artist Gigi Scaria’s site-specific installation City Unclaimed combines a large photo-based mural of an imaginary cityscape with a working fountain that stands as both a monument to a glorious past and also a reminder of bubbling societal tension.
Covering the central wall of the Smart Museum’s reception hall, the immersive mural is manipulated and stitched together from photographs Scaria has taken around his home city of Delhi. The collage of images shows the extreme differences and layers of social and economic class that are characteristic of the city, which Scaria says “grows and decays by its own logic.”
In front of the mural stands a twelve-foot high fountain that mirrors the architecture and images behind it. The five tiers of the fountain resemble Delhi apartment buildings with windows and balconies, and the flowing water raises issues about scarcity, abundance, and the allocation of resources in urban spaces.
City Unclaimed is the artist’s first project for a U.S. museum.
The Threshold series brings a major installation of contemporary art to the Smart Museum’s reception hall and sculpture garden each year, ensuring that all visitors—whether they have come to the building for a class, an exhibition, or a cup of coffee—will instantly encounter new art.
The related exhibition The Sahmat Collective explores contemporary art and activism in India and features additional work by Scaria. On view February 14—June 9, 2013.