History of Loss by Sudarshan Shetty: Vancouver Biennale

Saturday September 26th, 2009

HISTORY OF LOSS XPhoto by Sean Cranbury.

The Vancouver Biennale is expanding its focus from the picturesque waterways of Coal Harbour and English Bay to other locations within the city.

A major theme of the Vancouver Biennale is In-Transit-Ion as we embrace the public transportation systems and the public space around them.  These are the hubs that connect our neighborhoods and communities to each other just as the Canada Line connects Vancouver to the rest of the world via the Vancouver International Airport.

The first installation along Vancouver Skytrain’s brand new Canada Line is entitled History of Loss by Indian artist Sudarshan Shetty.  You can find this piece in the parking lot behind the new Canada Line station at Cambie Street and King Edward.


Photo by Sean Cranbury.

More about Sudarshan Shetty‘s ‘History of Loss’.

Plexiglass, aluminum, steel, Sudarshan Shetty, India.

Although inspired by VW Beetle childhood toy cars, the reference here is multitudinous; iconic combustion engine vehicles entombed and dated as artifacts, reflecting the consciousness and worldliness of young Contemporary Indian artists.  Shetty makes his Canadian debut in the 2009-2011 Vancouver Biennale.

The casts of model aluminum Volkswagen Beetle cars are displayed in clear plexiglass boxes stacked in repeated rows, each marked with a date.  The replicas are miniature, mimicking children’s toy cars, a reference to a childlike desire, and nostalgic memory.   Shetty diligently cast each individual car, identical, perfect and pristine, and then deliberately dropped them one by one from around 300 feet with the sole purpose to damage each one, thereby making each one individualistic.


Photo by Sean Cranbury.

Shetty describes his process: “The cars were manually smashed by me after being cast from a single mould, thereby representing the notion of their possible crash as an event. The dates on the vestibules represent the dates of possible crashes, but they really represent the dates to the deadline that I had in which to complete the work, which was completed in 42 days.” Shetty’s piece draws attention to the environment damage caused by the combustion engine by placing each vehicle into a coffin-like box, on display as a museum relic or artifact.


Sudarshan Shetty is part of a growing number of young contemporary Indian artists who are garnering international attention for work that breaks with traditional religious iconography, or uses it in new ways.  Shetty makes his Canadian debut in the 2009-2011 Vancouver Biennale.

For more information visit www.galleryske.com


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