Taj Mahal

Sudarshan Shetty, India


In Taj Mahal, Sudarshan Shetty has created hundreds of miniature reproductions of the historic shrine, bolted together to form a monumental block. Re-scaled and repeated, the image is transposed from its original context and meaning to become decorative, nearly meaningless. Near the installation, a video of Taj Mahal is overlaid with an image of flames, reinforcing this idea of destruction. With this video we are meant to understand the meaning of the process of disintegration in the same way the monument has migrated from private gesture through national symbol to a ubiquitous image robbed of potency, akin to the tourist souvenir. In this sense, the artwork reflects the notion of absence. In the first instance, Taj Mahal stands in monument to a dead wife; in the second, it stands as a symbol of a (constructed) notion of national identity.