Recent Acquisition: Susanta Mandal

Susanta Mandal, Caged Sacks, 2007-08

The Guggenheim recently acquired Susanta Mandal’s Caged Sacks (2007–08). Sandhini Poddar, Assistant Curator of Asian Art, describes the work:

Susanta Mandal (b. 1965, Kolkata, India, lives and works New Delhi) focuses our attention on quotidian materials and events, inviting viewers to witness and confront raw reality in interactive environments. His mixed media installations, which often utilize spotlights and kinetic mechanisms seem playful, but are actually uncanny and ultimately disconcerting constructions. Mandal enhances each installation by balancing theatrical lights with deep shadows. Through chiaroscuro, the works take on narrative and performative elements, echoing the tradition of vernacular storytelling in India, where painted scrolls are brought to life with lamps at dusk. In Caged Sacks (2007–08), nine steel cages are aligned to imitate prisoners’ cells. Six contain jute gunnysacks used to transport sugar throughout the Indian subcontinent. By replacing the sugar with timed motors, the artist transforms these objects into writhing, potentially dangerous bodies (animal or human), which are kept at a remove behind steel bars, and succinctly conveys his deep sociopolitical concerns. Mandal is the recipient of several national awards and was artist-in-residence at the Khoj International Residency in 2007 and Britto International Artist’s Workshop in 2008.

Purchased with funds contributed by the Young Collectors Council.

Learn more about the Guggenheim’s recent acquisitions and permanent collection.

Susanta Mandal, Caged Sacks, 2007–08. Steel cages, jute gunnysacks, links, 2rpm motors, 5rpm motors, programming circuit, and light fixtures, 20 x 12 x 3 feet overall. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 2008. Artwork and photo © Susanta Mandal


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