Sunil Gawde (born 1960, Mumbai) trained as a painter but his practice has evolved in later decades to include sculptures and kinetic installations. Gawde’s works animate the dichotomy between reality and perception in nature and life, between what is and what seems, and plays up the absurd and the paradoxical. At once metaphysical and sensual, the visual dualism of material – soft vs. hard, round vs. sharp, presence vs. absence, and so on – is an inherent feature of Gawde’s recent works, and he brings alive the metaphorical tension between these polarities with a contemporary aesthetic, leavened with humour, wit and a keen sense of irony. Gawde often makes use of everyday objects and ready-mades in his artwork – light bulbs, blades, windshield wipers, magnifiers, etc – showing them in contexts that belie their benign ordinariness, and make them appear inherent with uncanny possibilities.
Gawde’s works, especially his large-scale sculptures, have attracted considerable attention among the international art community. He has shown at galleries, museums, fairs and biennales across the world. At the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, his work, a two-ton kinetic piece called ‘Alliteration’, was included in ‘Making Worlds’, an exhibition curated by Daniel Birnbaum. Another large installation, a 12-foot stainless steel pendulum, ‘Vicious Circle’ was part of ‘Finding India’ at MOCA, Taipei, in 2010; and in 2007, his black, oversized ‘Blind Bulbs’ dominated Jumeira beach (and St.Tropez earlier) at the Special Projects section of Gulf Art Fair. Gawde has several public art commissions to his credit, including a 3-tonne mechanized sculpture, ‘Galileo and his friends left me with these moons…’ (2012), at the invitation of the Government of Taiwan.
The artist lives and works in Mumbai.