Mrugen Rathod’s artworks are largely centered around ecology, as they examine relationships between nature and manmade interventions. He uses humor and allegory to comment on social, political and cultural issues, such as depleting natural resources. Mrugen’s practice consists of drawings, sculpture, and site specific installations. He enjoys experimenting with new materials and has recently worked with fabrication, metal, fabric, LED lights, etc.
His ongoing series, Avataran, uses Indian rivers as its muse, where each sculpture mimics the shape of a particular river. Fabricated in paper, fabric, and metal armature, with LED lights inside, these ‘avatars’ raise pertinent questions, like that of crocodile preservation in the Vishvamitri river, or pollution around the Sabarmati river; or at times they humorously comment on the context of their site, for instance with a scale pattern in a proposal for an MBA school in Gurgaon.
Mrugen’s earlier practive focused heavily on site specific installations that were often ephemeral. These artworks found meaning in the public sphere wherein they physically shared space and interacted with the very elements of nature and ecology that they were commenting on. Here, the significance and contexts of the artwork and space continue to evolve, simply by coexisting, as though in an infinite volley of conversation. With his indoor sculptures and commissioned artworks, such as Avataran, Mrugen attempts to bring parts of this conversation to more conventional spaces.
Born in 1982, Mrugen Rathod received his Masters in Visual Art, (Sculpture) from M.S. University, Vadodara in (2010). He has participated in several group exhibitions, most recently Making Space, at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, curated by Saloni Doshi (2019), solo display of his Shore Public Art Project at 1 Shanthi Road, Banglore (2017), showcased in the FICA Home Page, Vadhera Art Gallery, New Delhi (2016). He was awarded the FICA PAG (Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art – Public Art Grant) (2015-16). He has participated in camps, residencies and workshops including, GREEN BODY, a Nature Art Symposium and Show at Sonjei-Do island, Incheon and Sonahmoo Art Space, Anseong, South Korea, curated by Jeon Wongil in collaboration with Korean Culture (2018), Montalvo Art Center, Saratoga, California with the support of ART FORUM SF, San Francisco, USA (2018), and was also a part of the Street Art Project ‘Yellow Crow’ for the PUNE Biennale (2012). His important upcoming and past projects include the OPEN CIRCLE (Mumbai) Residency in Collaboration with ACORN Foundation (U.K. and India) at Compound Lab 13, Dharavi, Mumbai, India; Workshop with Slum kids and Research based Art Project on Mithi / Mahim River (2019-20), and sculptures at Palava City, Lodha Architecture at Dombivalli, Mumbai. Mrugen currently lives and works in Vadodara.