The solo exhibition of Shine Shivan is the third taking place in the new premises of the fledgling Felix Frachon gallery. And there has been much talk about it since it opened during the Brussels Gallery Weekend because of its fresh inventiveness, its boldness and its force. Felix Frachon chose to exhibit Indian artists he selected along his many journeys across India, a country he loves. He went to meet the artists in their studios and brought back to Brussels a third protégé who is dedicating body and soul to his art.
We had already discovered Shine Shivan on the stand of the Mumbai Gallery Maskara during Art Brussels 2014. His work is a mix of drawing, painting but also installation and sculpture. In this particular exhibition entitled My mentor is a Wolf, the artist has blown away all the boundaries of his media of choice to show the opposite poles of life. A mentor could be defined as a guide, a wise man. The wolf, on the other hand, is full of ambivalence, sometimes seen as dangerous, sometimes as a protector, Romulus and Remus in Roman mythology for instance. These two poles draw a line, a tightrope which Shivan walks, keeping his balance, bold, fearless, from light to darkness, from softness to violence. And conversely.
Without restraint, Shivan harnesses his talent to question aspects of desire, gender relations, sexuality, and mythological tales. In the first room, we come across three sculptures made from a blend of materials: shells, pieces of fabric, feathers, glass beads, buttons, and thorns. Close to raw art, they howl, shout. It takes courage to look at them, with their deformed eyes, multiple breasts, mouth bearing teeth or pulling their tongue out. They are a bit like dark gods, from an imaginary country. In the second room, a large charcoal drawing features human bodies, both male and female, some in clusters, others copulating. A fresco which mixes mythologies and Indian and European fairy tales. Further on, the series of heads drawn in charcoal and sanguine produces a stunning effect with those round shapes on a pair of shoulders, masked by various symbols, whether spearheads or bored holes. On the front of the gallery, a flag embroidered by the artist floats in the wind. Such energy, such lack of conceptual formulation! You can enjoy everything with utter delight, and no need to intellectualize.
Shine Shivan was born in 1981 in the Indian State of Kerala. He holds a Master’s in Visual Arts from the Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University in Agra and a Bachelor’s degree in Art from the Delhi College of Arts. For the opening, he wore a feather headdress and contact lenses that made his eyes blue. His mere presence escorted by his wife dressed in a golden sari was in itself a performance not to be missed.
Don’t delay and discover for yourself all of this powerful, bright, cheerful, raw and subtle art. Mu loves it!
My Mentor is a Wolf
5 rue Saint-Georges
Until 12 November
Tuesdays – Saturdays, from 11:00h to 18:00h