MATHUR, Saloni and Miwon KWON (eds.; 2015). Making Strange: Gagawaka + Post-mortem by Vivan Sundaram, Los Angeles: Fowler Museum at UCLA, ISBN 13: 978-0984755097, 200 pp., full colour, bibliography. Price: c. US$25.
This is a two-in-one book that includes two very different groups of art objects created by the New Delhi-based artist, Vivan Sundaram. The first project is called Gagawak and consists of 27 sculptural garments that are made from a very diverse range of recycled materials – from tyre tubes, bandages, surgical mats, drainage pipes, even tampons. The second project is entitled Postmortem and is composed of mannequins, tailor’s dummies, combined in various manners with replica human organs and bones. The project looks at and comments on how society reacts to the human body and more specifically to illness, ageing and death.
Recommendation: The book provides a unique perspective into avant-garde design by exploring sculpture, fine art and post-mortems. The more cutting-edge approach to art features distinctive sculptures and textiles, which may be interesting to artists or designers that are keen to take risks and explore the uses of unconventional materials. The book contains detailed images that are explained well within the supporting text, providing a greater understanding of the skill behind the art work as well as the artist’s/designer’s intentions. The book will be a source of ideas for aspiring artists and fashion designers, who want to push their work.