After studying in Delhi and Agra and working at Khoj, Shine Shivan has his first solo show at Mumbai’s Gallery Maskara. Provocatively entitled “Sperm Weaver,” the show centers around Shivan’s sexually charged sculptures, photographs and video work. Considering questions about historical and societal controls on sexuality, the artist turns the lens away from modes of femininity towards the idea of the masculine. The exhibition as a whole makes clear that Shivan is trying to weave an alternative narrative for the postmodern masculine body. In the photograph “Sperm Weaver” (2009), Shivan seems to be balletically inseminating a barren wasteland, furtively moving while carrying a bundle of white tulle. “Second Hand Pepe” reveals the simultaneous fear and desire contained in multiplied opened mouths, while “The Rape of Genemede,” an eagle-winged phallus that recounts the Greek allegory of sexual deviance, where the thunder-god Zeus ravishes a mortal man, playfully creates a mythological lineage for his own tale.
The most beguiling thing about Shivan’s work is the way his choice of imagery and textures characterize masculine anxiety. However, these choices lack subtlety to say the least. In his video work, Shivan rolls back and forth in a pool of frothy liquid, at once in agony and ecstasy. Two mammoth cow dung structures stand in the middle of the gallery floor, while “Used Dicks,” the abandoned nests of the male Baya weaverbirds, hang like desecrated and decaying wombs.
-- Avni Doshi
(Images, from top to bottom: Shine Shivan, Sperm Weaver; Shine Shivan, Angel. Images courtesy of Gallery Maskara and the artist.)