With a style that straddles Photorealism and Surrealism, Shibu Natesan conjures dream-like images from fragments of memories of his native South India. In Fly the Sky, Natesan depicts two men flying in a bright blue sky full of cumulus clouds as two other men watch in amazement. Using different figure sizes in varying proportions, Natesan employs René Magritte's technique to make space tangible.
Magritte has inspired Natesan to use ordinary objects and everyday experiences in unexpected ways. Natesan's barefoot men wear shirts and trousers typical of clerks in South India in much the same way that Magritte's bureaucratic men in their bowler hats were commonplace in mid-century Belgium. Natesan and Magritte's men are unoriginal and anonymous but they have the extraordinary ability to fly in the sky thereby dispensing any symbolic meaning the viewer might derive from their middle-class appearance.
We presume that Natesan would agree with Magritte when he said, "People always look for symbols in my work. There are none. That kind of meaning doesn't exist. Maybe I placed the men where you don't expect to see them. But then the men are in the sky, aren't they?...Man in the heavens. The earth travels to the heavens and man is here on earth."
(Artist Statement, Siegfried Gohr, Magritte: Attempting the Impossible, D.A.P., New York, 2009, p. 275)