Shine Shivan.

I hadn’t heard the name before I received curator/gallerist Abhay Maskara’s invitation to attend the latest show at his gallery. But the show is called ‘Suck Spit’ and there was some chatter about deer faeces so this was clearly a show where anything could happen (or be on display).

I am always impressed by the size of the Gallery Maskara space, even after having been there several times. That large cavernous box of a gallery just seems designed for some insane parties. What happens in there instead, is a different but just as essential form of insanity – the exhibition of challenging art.

And Suck Spit is a challenging show.

For one there is the smell. At opening night itself Mr. Maskara was talking about how an early visitor had to leave in a hurry before the fumes overpowered her.

For another there are the works. As seen in the video below one can only appreciate them for their aesthetic visual value. It is only when one is inside the space with them, that one gets a sense of what the true experience of these pieces is. Among other pieces Mr. Shivan’s installations feature deer faeces collected over a year, quail eggs perched precariously on fragile looking branches and a mini coop of preserved fowl that are the results of his early experiments with taxidermy. Try as one might, mere video cannot do complete justice to such a display.

And finally, the artist himself. Clad in jeans, boots and a gauzy cape/wrap combo with Robert Smith hair and glue-on sequins around one eye, the artist was simultaneously flamboyant and demure. [Interesting Fact: Mr. Shivan couldn’t find anyone to teach him the art of taxidermy in India so he picked up his knowledge from YouTube!]

Suck Spit is scheduled to show at Gallery Maskara until May 15th and I would seriously recommend a visit. Not because this is the prettiest art you’re likely to see this month (or year) at a gallery in Mumbai but because it will open your mind to the true scope of an artistic life.

I am very interested to see what’s next from both Messrs. Shivan and Maskara.

The music in the video was composed by sonaluna