Jitish Kallat's series, Rickshawpolis 4 (2005-2007) (Lot 1325) is a visually stunning yet cacophonous homage to his hometown, Mumbai, exemplifying the sensory overload that characterises much of urban contemporary life in India. The motorized rickshaw, comprising the title of the work, is a stalwart symbol of post-Independence India that in effect has been rendered into an old "dinosaur" struggling for survival against the newer sleeker vehicles competing for space and threatening its obsolescence.
The new Rickshawpolis paintings are vast collision portraits of the thumping, claustrophobic city-street; part of my persistent project to find fresh ways to register the life I see around. Cars, buses, scooters, cycles, cats, cows and humans collide and coalesce to form mega-explosions. These optical jerks caused by the high decibel of daily action can also be read as distorted reflections of a city seen on the dented body of an automobile. The painting itself is mounted on bronze sculptures, re-creations of gargoyles that are found atop the 120 year old Victoria Terminus Building in the centre of Mumbai. The gargoyle, herein symbolizing the figure of the bystander artist self, has been a daily witness to this constant calamity of the street running into itself.
-Interview with Jitish Kallat, www.mattersofart.com/lead7.html, e-zine