Vivan Sundaram

Project 88/Chemould Prescott Road

For some, India’s cities are tomorrow’s miracles. “India Shining,” boast government slogans; “Mumbai will be another Shanghai,” promise others. The veteran Delhi-based artist Vivan Sundaram, however, rubbished the idea that India’s rapid urbanization is an unmitigated blessing with his recent solo show “Trash.” The exhibition of installations, videos, and photographs featured so-called urban refuse—empty bottles, discolored plastic bags, broken toys, crumpled newspapers, and so on—and overran two chic galleries, Project 88 and Chemould Prescott Road. As anthropologist Mary Douglas famously put it, “Dirt is matter out of place,” and Sundaram has analyzed the nature of such displacements. He upended our usual definitions of waste by using it to produce magical, if melancholy, moments.

Sundaram’s art is concerned with the hidden underbelly of India’s globalizing economy. “Trash” was put together

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