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Vishal K Dar

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1976, Digboi, India
Lives and works in New Delhi

Vishal Dar is a New Media Artist with a background in Architecture. His unique style of expression combining architecture, sculpture, design and art sets him apart from his contemporaries. Digital animation software and prototyping technology are two of the many new media techniques that Dar uses to create ‘archi-sculptures’. Often known to comment satirically upon political and sociological issues, a majority of his works probe into the theme of ‘digital ornamentation’.

Education

2002

MFA, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

1999

B’Arch, Sushant School of Art and Architecture

VIEW     Selected exhibitions     Text      Videos      Awards      Selected images      View all

LIFE AND WORK

UNDERSTANDING Vishal K Dar

Fuses architecture and sculpture, design and art in his works

Trained initially as an architect who later completed MFA in New Media from University of California, Los Angeles, Vishal Dar uses digital animation software, prototyping technology and new media to create what is called “archi-sculptures”.

In Ekant or solitude, Dar uses stainless steel to blend art, architecture and design together that still holds a primarily architectural conceptual framework. In Naag, Dar and his collaborator Gabriel L Dunne challenge the notion of a sculpture as a static object by having a projection that perfectly aligns to the sculptural form mapped on its surface from two locations, thus modeling the sculpture digitally. Dar uses modern animation software to create works that have not only strong visual appeal but conceptual strength as well. Iconic architectural sites like the India Gate are digitally manipulated in his works. Dar has also worked as a curator and scenographer and designed Delhi’s largest ‘state-of-the-art’ gallery-THE STAINLESS.

Vishal K Dar, NAAG2012

Vishal K Dar, Ghosla, 7’6” (height)

Uses satire and scale to address deeper personal, political and sociological issues

Through works that combine humour and digital playfulness, Dar addresses contemporary issues of nationhood, freedom, commodification and the position of women. In his 2010 solo show titled BROWNation , Dar uses national symbols like the national flag, postal stamp as well as popular icons like Mother India, photograph of a young M.K Gandhi juxtaposing it with absurd imagery resulting in provocative appropriation. A monumental sculpture of the cinematic Mother India is positioned next to India Gate [on Google Maps] while a young Gandhi in a coat accompanied by a goat is seen in time-travel with iconic sculptures like Abraham Lincoln, Michelangelo’s David, Rodin’s Thinker, Saddam Hussein's fallen statue and with an older dhoti clad Gandhi. In ‘Girl on a Swing,’ a single channel video which depicts a girl swinging from India Gate investigates the binary between planned and organic space as well as the gendering of public space in the light of escalated cases of rapes being reported in the capital city. In suicide chronicles, Dar parodies the valorisation of Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisan under the Nehruvian India.

Vishal K Dar, Travels of that strange little brown man Ed, 2010, Epson digital print on archival paper,10 x 15” (each).

His practice often extends outside the gallery and into the public realm

In the 2013 public project ‘Prajapati’, the artist mounted a computer-controlled sky-tracker (searchlight) in a 10-acre site dug up to create the DLF Mall of India in Gurgaon. Resembling a pan-opticon vision, the empty space/site is at once alien and eerie with white walls and white dolls placed at the steps. In another site specific, interactive public art, Dar has the visitor projected on the facade of the Biritsh Council in the form of Navagunjara- Krishna’s avatar which is a composite form made of nine different animals using virtual mapping technology which apes every movement of the public in real time. Naag, a site specific video projection was installed in Mehrauli, New Delhi.

Vishal K Dar, Praja – pati, using a revolving searchlight.

Borrows from the ancient and the mythical to create a dialogue with the present

Many of Dar’s works like Ghonsla/nest, Aiyana/mirror, Tanaa/trunk, DhoomKetu/Comet and Vaikunt/universe within although positioned in the global scenario borrows from ancient philosophical constructs. Inspired by the many Ramayana traditions across the country kept alive through its performative re-tellings, Dar translates Raavana Chhaya –a form of shadow theatre of Orissa in the form of three interactive graphic books to produce a contemporary retelling of Valmiki’s epic Ramayana. This downloadable book of visual poetry is deeply rooted in sculptural murals/miniature traditions of the East.

Vishal K Dar, Raavan Chhaya

Vishal K Dar, Vaikunt , 5’6” (diameter)

Collaboration is key to Dar's work

Dar collaborates with a range of people-academicians, artists, programmers and designers. The 2012 Rise of the BROWNationals at Chemould Prescott Road was a collaboration with film historian Kaushik Bhaumik and media arts practitioner Siddhartha Chatterjee. The collaborative nature of the project resulted in rich borrowing from cinematic vocabulary to cast Indian cinema’s iconic figure of Mother India as a protagonist and trigger resemblance with the aesthetics of Kubrick’s ‘Clockwork Orange’ and technogical surrealism via a Dali-esque eye from ‘Un Chien Andalou’ in Dar’s Cutter edition. In NAAG, Dar collaborated with Gabriel Dunne-an interdisciplinary artist and designer and supported by OUTSET India to create a sculpture (Naag) that challenges the notion of sculpture as a static form.

Vishal K Dar, Mother India, 2009, Light Box (Photograph), 12 x 6 ft.