A fanatic obsession with ‘creation’ itself, Artcrete has been a bizarre but unavoidable odyssey undertaken by Sonny Singh and his talented group of workers in a quaint and quiet Goan village (Moira). The charm of this project breathes in its strangeness.
Artcrete is a quest for concrete images in a transient and illusory world. Nothing gets more concrete than concrete itself, from pavements to roads and buildings we are surrounded by concrete at most times. Humans have created using concrete for over 12 thousand years. Coming from an architectural background, Sonny Singh understands the strength, durability and timelessness of the material. Through ArtCrete, he has managed to assemble the past with the present, fact and myth blurring the boundaries of time and space into an artistic slurry made of concrete. The project brings together different cultures from the Sumerian Myth of the Apakallus (a legend about seven sages or demigods who created god Enki to establish culture and give civilization to mankind), to the pyramids of Egypt (symbolic of the connection between earth and heaven) written into the structure of a labyrinth.
The sculptures can be read like a treasure trove of relics floating somewhere between the past and the future, simultaneously rigid and soft. In quantitative terms, around 1000kgs of cement was converted into 5000kgs of concrete art. They appear to be familiar, reminiscent of a lost time yet pointing towards a future and perhaps a reality where cultures, ideas, places and timelines unfold and morph together existing in a concrete wholeness of their own. Extending the Bauhaus stream of thought to his own art practice, for this project, Sonny Singh decided to collaborate with the carpenters, mason workers and painters who have been with the Cube Gallery since its inception. Though it took a year’s worth of work to reach fruition, the project feels effortless- existing like a self-fulfilled prophecy.
Artcrete is made up of three segments, the concrete tiles, the labyrinthine installation and the faceless idols of the Apakallus. The molds were carved in negative out of pine wood onto which the concrete slurry was poured. These blocks were then subjected to various processes to achieve the final antiquated look. The process required extensive experimentation akin to that of an alchemist, mixing together, stripping down and juxtaposing the seemingly contradictory.