Vivan Sundaram Landfill


Vivan Sundaram studied in MS University in Baroda and later at the Slade School of London. His recent exhibitions include ‘Gagawaka: Making Strange’, Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai 2012 and ‘Trash’, Walsh Gallery, Chicago

Sundaram’s recent ensemble " Landfill "rehearses the discursive construction of the megacity-as-waste, by representing an urban totality through elaborate, ordered arrangements of garbage. Working collaboratively with waste-pickers who are members of the non-governmental organization Chintan: Environmental and Research Action Group in New Delhi, the artist sorts, re-assembles and scales the found-objects ofTrash into detailed models of a monumental urban landscape. Through a close reading of its formal aspects, the entry examines Trash’s reflection on logics of planned obsolescence which govern both the work as well as fantasies of economic nationalism premised on dualistic images of the global/mega-city.
Vivan Sundaram’s extensive career has given him opportunities to work in a range of mediums – painting, installation, assemblage, photography, digital media and film.

Vivan’s work deals directly with social and political history, the environment and historiography as well. He evokes the viewer into taking part in the event or story in response to his painted and crafted constructions.

Mr. Sundaram wishes to draw attention to not only the amount of trash generated by the new urban middle class and elite, but also to draw attention to the fact that these wastepickers work all hours to sort, sift, and recycle all the trash generated.

In Mr. Sundaram’s video Turning, the trash becomes almost personified. Bottle caps, parts of toys and plastic, empty soda cans, all are elements of the huge towers. The wind blows down the towers and then they are recreated. If trash can be beautiful, Mr. Sundaram has found a way to make it just that.

As Mr. Sundaram says: It’s a huge industry that is part of our landscape. You can’t wish it away, just as you can’t wish away the poor. The urban middle upper class, rather than turn away from the garbage they generate, must face the reality of the people outside their gated colonies.