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Artist Gigi Scaria taps into the urbanite’s need to be a “romantic outsider to the system”. His new series of works Amusement Park, exhibited at Mumbai-based Chemould Prescott Road, visualises the city as a vast amusement park in which buildings that one sees everyday are transformed into an ever-moving landscape – they hang instead of seats in a Ferris wheel, balance on either side of a wooden plank of a see-saw, or form waves in a sea of buildings.

“Ever since civilisation was formed and nurtured, the city has become a fascinating phenomenon. The world started to live up to the expectations of the city; and the city continuously demanded a space, character and logic of its own, in order to fulfil the aspirations of an urban nomad. Notions of politics, identity, nationalism, industrialization, modernism, lifestyle, crime, madness, spirituality, and anything and everything that the human being has been proud to assert as his/her own, are constantly produced and consumed by the city,” he says, explaining the concept.

The outsider, in Scaria’s Amusement Park, is one who wants to “get out of the clutches of the system.”

But in the end, he says, “Many who went to the wilderness of nature never returned. Many ran away from all that they belonged to – but failing to conform with the ‘outside’, came back with much more intensity and conviction that urbanism is the spiritual condition of modern man.”

For Scaria, Amusement Park is a logical extension of urban romanticism. He says, “Here in this park they crawled, flew, fell and screamed with a momentary transcendence of the self. A self never returned to its original self ever.”

Note: Trained as a painter, Gigi Scaria expresses his concerns with urban cosmopolitan life via various materials. He was born in Kerala and is now based in New Delhi.

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