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Can we 'Handle with Care' Yaazd's fictional interpretation of the mundane?

Investigating the exhibition Handle With Care by Yaazd Contractor at Method gallery in Mumbai, showcasing illuminated cold cathodes, glass tubes, aluminium, and more.

by Vatsala SethiPublished on : Jan 01, 2023

Stepping into Yaazd Contractor’s exhibition at the Method, an art gallery in Kala Ghoda, Mumbai is akin to stepping on to a science fiction film set. The much-anticipated show, titled Handle With Care, focuses on the use of technology, and factory-made, mechanical elements. This lines up with what we have seen at the Indian artist's past art exhibitions. Contractor is often referred to as a light artist, as his art installations involve light design and illuminate spaces. Several intricate parts of his work have a futuristic vision aided by the medium he uses.

Installation view: Assembly and the vases at Method, Kala Ghoda | YaazD | STIRworld
Installation view: Assembly and the vases at Method, Kala Ghoda Image: Courtesy of the Method, Kala Ghoda

There is a contrast in the materials used to create each of the objects on display. These include cinder and glass, mass-produced and prefabricated steel parts. He also uses cold cathode neons, an art that is in danger of extinction, and quickly withering flowers. These are the elements that stand out the most among the carefully chosen components currently on display at Method. Although the list may go on, it would be limiting the work's potential to confine our interpretation of the current show to a single narrative of materiality.

Window Grill n.2, Galvanized Steel, Hardware, Glass, Cold Cathode (Kr), White | Yaazd | STIRworld
Window Grill n.2, Galvanized Steel, Hardware, Glass, Cold Cathode (Kr), White Image: Courtesy of the Method, Kala Ghoda

When we contemplate the exhibition title a bit more, can we decipher a message, Handle With Care? Considering the delicate materials in contrast with the heavy industrial objects, we wonder what more might be suggested. As implied by the exhibition's name, ‘Handle With Care’, viewers are urged to view the works on display with care and refrain from attributing meanings that are unrelated to the exhibition. Is that an approach for not requesting audience feedback and instead enabling events to unfold naturally?

Assembly (AL) wall_(Ne x Ar)_Cobalt Blue x Orange (Murano) Aluminium, Hardware, Glass, Cold Cathode (Ne x Ar) Blue x Orange (Murano) | YaazD | STIRworld
Assembly (AL) wall_(Ne x Ar)_Cobalt Blue x Orange (Murano), Aluminium, Hardware, Glass, Cold Cathode (Ne x Ar) Blue x Orange (Murano) Image: Courtesy of the Method, Kala Ghoda

The show's illumination draws visitors in, allowing them to take in the atmosphere of the dazzling exhibition and giving them less time to wonder and wander. In addition, the title is a statement that is frequently written on shipping crates while moving a piece of art. The works on show combined with neon lights, metal tubes, Borosil glass, cold cathode lighting, and aluminium produce a distinctive visual impact. The pieces must be handled extremely carefully because they include fragile materials. It's intriguing to observe how the exhibition as a whole, from the text to the artworks on display to the curatorial note, conveys a sense of fragility and tenderness, in contrast to the artist's earlier works, which established connections with incredibly robust, rigid, and durable industrial components.

Vase series from the exhibition, YaazD | YaazD | STIRworld
Vase series from the exhibition Image: Courtesy of the Method, Kala Ghoda

The works of the visual artist on display create a fine balance between tenderness and rigidity, with a warm, and playful aesthetic. At the same time, the works allow viewers to ponder other aspects of the work, that go beyond art and functionality. Contractor’s practice results in a body of works that are related to the realm of design, but are constructed from reused industrial byproducts, generating distinctive objects with distinct identities that bridge the gap between art and luxury design.

Assembly (AL) wall_(Ne x Ar)_Cobalt Blue x Orange (Murano), Aluminium, Hardware, Glass, Cold Cathode (Ne x Ar) Blue x Orange (Murano) Video: Courtesy of the Method, Kala Ghoda

Contractor has highlighted works of art and commonplace items from an industrial background that one would pass by in daily life. The artist’s works also adds an interesting dimension to the Indian art world, in terms of aesthetics and have us anticipating a good twist at the end of this scientific-fiction-like exhibit.

Handle With Care by Yaazd Contractor is on view at Method Gallery in Kalaghoda, Mumbai, till January 3, 2023. 

In the frame, YaazD Contractor | YaazD | STIRworld
In the frame, Yaazd Contractor Image: Courtesy of Method Gallery
Window Grill n.2, Galvanized Steel, Hardware, Glass, Cold Cathode (Kr), White Video: Courtesy of Method gallery
Assembly (AL) Hanging _(Ar) [warm white] Aluminium, Hardware, Glass, Cold Cathode (Ar), Warm White Video: Courtesy of Method gallery

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