Highlighting Ravi Zupa’s multifaceted studio practice, The Termoil of Being at Hashimoto Contemporary features new works on paper, fabricated sculptures and a large scale installation. Zupa utilizes a broad range of techniques to inter-weave imagery from a myriad of cultures.
Taking cues from Renaissance portraiture, totalitarian propaganda and Eastern iconography, Zupa creates a unique universe of historic characters and anthropomorphic creatures. Figures are precisely rendered to emulate the stylings of Japanese wood-block illustrations, Medieval religious art, and zoological drawings. However, each pastiche is intervened with bold reference to modernity and a looming dystopian future.
The Turmoil of Being brings together several of Zupa’s ongoing bodies of work. His series, Age of Enlightenment, display his mastery of combining traditional methods of printmaking, assemblage, and painting. Zupa’s ornate work seems as it were unearthed from centuries ago, yet it contains traces of our contemporary age. Dreamlike, unsettling and mysterious, these works unify what is seemingly unrelated, to strive towards something universal.
In his continuing series, Mightier Than, Zupa dismantles and welds together pieces of antique typewriters to create realistic depictions of modern assault rifles. Upon closer inspection, barrels and triggers are merely carriages and keys. Each weapon is even loaded with ammunition meticulously crafted from discarded pencil stubs and fountain-pens. This work confronts the violent and absurd by re-interpreting the old adage “the pen is mightier than the sword.”
Zupa’s exhibition culminates in a life-size sculptural installation. An elaborately costumed Samurai rides on horseback, wielding an assembled typewriter rifle. This monumental work provokes viewers to be physically immersed into Zupa’s milieu.