Thursday, December 16, 2010
Nek Chand and the Garden of Chandigarh
Its a big world full of really strange things. Here is another, The Rock garden at Chandigarh. This is one of those strange personal constructions that some crackpot built on his own year after year. It grew and grew as he added to it daily until it was an enormous and idiosyncratic creation, touched with madness. I have an inkling of what it must be like to do that.
Nek Chand a public works employee in Chandigarh, India began secretly building a rock garden in his spare time from recycled industrial and household waste. Begun in 1957 in a ravine area designated as a nature preserve. The garden had grown to cover twelve acres before it was discovered by city officials in 1975.
The Site was saved from destruction by public opinion and Nek Chand was given a salary and fifty workmen to continue the project. The rock garden now covers forty acres and sees thousands of visitors a day.
There is an English foundation that raises money to preserve the garden and continue it's creation.
The rock garden is a series of courtyards and sculpture gardens built of cement and filled with cement sculpture covered in broken pottery.
This little guy is wearing a suit made of broken crockery.
Some of these sculptures look a little nightmarish to me, but maybe that's a cultural difference. There is a personal mythology of some kind going on here that needs herds of critters to explain itself. There is an obsessiveness in the multiples of figures that seems to come out in outsider art. Not just strange stuff, but LOTS of it.
Do you remember horror vacui? Here are some fine examples. It seems to be a characteristic of primitive and outsider art.