Did they live happily ever after? Is commentary on the institution of marriage, a man-made institution which ‘traps’ two individuals into social living and that which has, in our current age become somewhat ‘plastic’? The installation is created using a plastic construction net, picked up from hardware stores. The material with its soft appearance is aesthetically feminine but its functionality is diabolically masculine. Used largely as a protective cover over construction sites and also in some rural areas substituted to catch fish to earn their daily bread. As Roland Barthes mentions in his essay, plastic is a material constantly in a state of motion, a reality of life wherein usefulness, pretention, adaptations and imitation take center stage. It is this very materiality of plastic that induces me to explore the fake, exaggerated and ever-transforming institution of marriage. The social characteristics and the histories of the plastic net as a trap and also as a protective layering hold semblance to the idea of marriage which promises togetherness but at the same time beckons a loss of individuality.
The material in this installation represents a nuptial in the form of wedding attires of the bride and groom along with the symbols of solemnization – the bouquet, the veil and the wedding rings. The attires have oddly long pants and sleeves for the groom and an extremely long train for the bride, a veil that is textured with slits and tears – symbolizing the troubles of staying within the contract. The train and the wedding rings bear text that speaks about the loss of personal individuality. In my experience, Marriage is a constant struggle to balance individuality and togetherness. The artwork is a narrative on the plasticity (Rashidi) of marriage wherein the couple, in their becoming lose their own eccentricity. In Asian countries, the Christian wedding ceremony has been romanticized and fetishized extensively by the current generation. For the viewer, this installation is an uncanny experience that displays the aesthetics of a fine wedding all be it in an odd manner. The use of plastic net forces the viewer to think beyond the beauty of the installation and further into the idea of marriage, its relevance and how it is positioned in society.
Plastic construction net, metal wedding bands, fake flower petals, 2017.