AI3_29_2017_4_14_26_AM_Main_Image.jpg
VIRAR-FAST INSTALLATION
Stainless Steel Discs
Clay Modelling
Welding a Thousand Discs Together
Polishing or Buffing Process
The Silver Table (2009) - Solo Show at the Sakshi Gallery
AI3_29_2017_4_14_26_AM_Main_Image.jpg
Workspace 29 Mar 2017

A Tale of a Thousand Discs: Valay Shende

The Virar-Fast is an art installation that reflects the struggle of the common man’s daily commute as a metaphor to the societal catastrophe the common man adheres to. Using his artwork as a language to communicate the urban maladies of our time, Shende welds together a thousand stainless steel discs, each of which represent the common man and the unspoken crisis he falls prey to.

Valay Shende, a staunch keeper of tangible culture, expresses his anguish over several unspoken urban crises the common man usually bears the brunt of, silently. In a fast-paced world where everyone lives a laborious routine of making their ends meet somehow, Valay found himself nestled in an arduous web just like another. Back  when he would reside at Virar and commute daily to Andheri via the local train, he failed to understand why someone would have to suffer a terrifying travel each day. The rush, delays, constant quarrels within the wagon and the quest to find a fourth seat on a bench ideally designed for three, certainly got him to question the menace of the society he lived in.

VIRAR-FAST INSTALLATION

With time, he figured it was important that he documented such urban crises through mediums he was best comfortable with. As a multimedia artist, his work is seen through videos, photography, sculpture and installation. He felt the need to record and freeze his artwork for the generations to come, those that would speak of the maladies of the present urban afflictions.

Shende likes keeping his work simple. He believes art is a language that seals an unspoken personal relationship between the artist and the viewer. Articulating every thought through his work of art, you’ll notice Shende’s work reveals intricate detailing of the subject. Understanding the Virar-Fast project closely that was introduced in 2015, this artwork has been delicately shaped from a thousand stainless steel discs, which he designed and produced himself. Imagine putting together a thousand Lego bricks to produce an art piece, calls for a lot of work, right? Shende and his team of 55 put together the Virar-Fast installation, disc by disc, in a multitude of thousands.

Inspired by the anatomy of the human body, Shende shaped stainless steel discs in the form of atoms and molecules. He takes the opportunity to represent life through this piece of art. While the discs represent atoms and molecules the human body is made up of, the blazing silver polish that literally mirrors the viewer, represents the surroundings or the menaces of the society we live with. While the process of polishing also recognized, as ‘Buffing’ equals the icing on the cake, the installation is covered through several other backbreaking stages including the sketching of the initial installation, clay modelling and the painstaking process of welding a thousand discs together, one at a time.

Stainless Steel Discs
Clay Modelling
Welding a Thousand Discs Together

The installation is assisted by 55 skilled artisans. Each of these men find themselves employed in one of the 4 units at Valay’s workstation in Mumbai, working either individually or in pairs. Contributing to the process and understanding each requirement, they put together each piece under the guidance of Shende. The final process concludes through stringent packing and crafting of the installation, which is then either locally transported via a tempo or shipped through cargo airway for international exhibitions.

Polishing or Buffing Process

Keeping in mind that Shende intends preserving his artwork for the upcoming generations, the installation accompanied the usage of high-end materials that would maintain its sustainability. Moulded over a period of 6 months, the work was a result of his experiences that he chose to engrave in the hearts and minds of his viewers.  

Having graduated from J.J. School of Arts in 2004, Valay’s work was soon noticed by the Sakshi Gallery in Mumbai. His most spoken about piece of work also happened to be his first sculptural installation that showcased a barbed wire exhibit in the form of a Burqa.

The Silver Table (2009) - Solo Show at the Sakshi Gallery

Displayed at the Sakshi Gallery, Shende also showcases an interesting installation from his 2009, Solo Show – The Silver Table. Dismayed by the suicides at Vidarbha, Shende illustrates the agony of the farmers. Standing over the alluring silver table, are two salt and pepper shakers screaming out a message in protest of the injustice the farmers fall prey to. While the salt shaker bottles the ashes of Narsinghlu Rukmawar who committed suicide, the pepper shaker bottles the soil of the farmer, he grew up working with.

While we could endlessly jot down a myriad of his projects, you’ll be glad to learn an ongoing project of Valay Shinde. Captioned as the ‘Avenger Series’, this project would resemble the disc pattern of the Virar-Fast. Damped with a lot more colours, this project would stage the socio-political situation between the United States and India and would be displayed at the Opera Gallery in New York and Miami, early this year.