IGNITING THE SPARKLE OF THE INFINITE WITH DR GINDI
Known for her airy imagery, Dr Gindi has modelled a name for herself as a sculptor of striking proficiency. The characters in her sculptures are distinctly fragile, fractured with gaps and chasms; at the same time, they are emphatically melodic in their finesse and fugacity as they search for the infinity of human existence.
I talked to Dr Gindi to learn more about her leitmotiv infinity and how it relates to the big questions of our time.
Interview with Dr Gindi
Caterina Stringhetta: Dr Gindi, your work seems to transcend the established iconography of sculpture whilst reclaiming the discourse of the human condition. Can you talk about the reason of focusing on what constitutes humanness in all its potentialities? And why infinity – the unifying idea of your practice – is about the expanse of space and time?
Dr Gindi: Well, art transforms reality or exacerbates it. The characters depicted in my sculptures for instances are in search of something I call infinity. Indeed, my work is intensely orientated toward that infinite thing. I differentiate between two spheres: The world of appearances and the one of infinite subtleties. The infinite interweaves all. It is source and inspiration at the same time: the source of meaning and the inspiration that endorses our existence on earth. For sure, the infinite is outside of space and time, it does not set boundaries. We seem to appear from nowhere, and from which we disappear into nowhere. My characters want to go beyond mere appearance. To put it into one sentence: the power of infinity is its capacity to make our lives incandescent. Take for example my sculpture Flying into Life that shows a character tossed by the rays of the universe. Full of energy, in forward motion, igniting the sparkle of the infinite. It is infinity that brings purpose and passion to life.
Caterina Stringhetta: Most contemporary artists link their artistic inquiry with one or several of the thematic triad that is so urgent today: identity, gender and ecology. You, in contrast, and almost a bit thrown off time, are searching to understand what it means to be human. May I ask you how identity, gender and ecology intertwine with your practice, and if your leitmotiv infinity might help to confront the present and apprehend the future? Or rather the image that captures your imagination.
Dr Gindi: As a precursor I should say that identity, gender and ecology are of course very important to me. Those themes are part of a larger conundrum that I try to continuously reflect on: the infinity of human existence. In my world, there is no other possibility and therefore – knowing that this is a self-refuting statement – no verity outside that overarching discourse. If we succeed to answer the essential questions of humanity our self-perception will change, leading us to understand our identity, gender and ecology – it might take a lifetime. My inquiry is the kernel within the human pursuit for intent and impetus, my protagonists are desperately searching for their true self and their purpose in life. No matter what, they will continue to live inside of themselves and outside their pure appearance – outlasting torture, delusion and embellishment.
Caterina Stringhetta: Good, let’s start to speak about identity, your own as well as the underlying feeling of belonging, or what might be called collective identity. With Egyptian origins and being raised in Europe, you ostensibly consider yourself a hybrid. What are the most significant expediencies in your diverse background, and how are they reflected in your artistic practice? And how does identity translate into infinity?
Dr Gindi: There are many Halves in my own self, and my Halves always form a new One. Genetically I am of half Northern African and half Northern European origin but the anchoring of my temperament is certainly all-embracing. In my artistic inquiry, I try to go beyond cultural and gendered artifacts with their intrinsic stereotyping. In the same way as I might be able to trace my genealogy to Egyptian pyramid-builders as well as Germanic boar-hunters I endeavor to celebrate unity in diversity, and liberty in infinity. Take the protagonist in my oeuvre Transfigured Immortality – a pharaoh-like female figure – who is yearning towards boundless infinity. She is leaning on her last place of rest gazing into the distance, she is longing for remembrance won through a dedication to a cause beyond herself. Her crown shall not symbolize the power of the absolute monarch but rather the link between heaven and earth, and origin and destiny. Being an inspiration to others, she enkindles a new era of humanity that trespasses fantasies of human omnipotence. Humbly. Beyond the limitations of time and space. Identity is preserved for infinity.
Caterina Stringhetta: Well, that’s a stark statement. Indeed, in the maze of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity. But that sense is only the first ledger of serenity, what comes next – ultimately and necessarily – is the precipitated proneness towards infinity. Let’s move to the second thematic triad of modern art: gender, with all its conjectured ramifications. Is your gender crucial to who you are? Does gender play a role in your practice? And finally, are you a feminist artist?
Dr Gindi: I don’t want to spin the Yes / No Wheel, so let me answer your questions differently. I am convinced that dismantling patriarchy is a fundamental task for all of us. Still, my artistic comprehension is populated by the overarching universe which is not necessarily all-female. The female self is hardly never not sexual in the eyes of the observer – nude women in art are often representations of male sexual desire. But I am not a feminist artist in the strict sense as I am not campaigning loudly to confront established doctrines – my approach is more subtle; I want to speak through my works. Even if many of my sculptures show the female body, I have no alternative. I thrive to explore the nature of feminine dignity through time and space whilst eschewing such constraints claimed by the truisms of polarity as feminine vs. masculine. Not sure how else to say it. Take for example The Fateful Choice, one of my latest works. This life-size figure shows a nude female character with a knife. The physical body is often the starting point of my work, and the nude here is apparently thrown to the inquisitive squints of the observers. Is it really her bare breasts that attract their aroused gazes or rather the knife held behind her derrière? Is she fighting for her femininity or rather for humanity at large, or perhaps for her real self?
Caterina Stringhetta: I understand, you are not hiding your gender but you are not trumpeting it loudly either. Now I figure out why you call yourself Dr Gindi in a rather gender-neutral way, acknowledging humanity’s dual nature thus wedding intellect and emotion. Let’s now talk about the final theme complex: ecology. Is the natural world a source of inspiration for you? Reflecting on our planet’s ecological perils, are you using your work as platform to raise awareness and to imagine a more sustainable future?
Dr Gindi: Absolutely, I have always been concerned about the health of our planet. Human civilization depends on a flourishing nature and the wise stewardship of natural resources. Furthermore, I believe that human health and the health of our planet are indissolubly linked. As an individual – and as a sculptor – I want to make a difference, knowing of course that art alone cannot fix the problems of the world. Artists will not solve climate change, inequality, and poverty, but we can incite change, through our relatively prominent position as persons of public interest. That’s what I had in mind when creating The Horticulturist where I portray an enlightened gardener who is germinating his plants with his infinite self. The work is part of a recent series I called ‘Finding Ways’ that shall launch a universal inquiry into the existential arousal of infinity and its tonic value. Infinity is a metaphor for having the bravery to seize the unprecedented and to allow it to unfurl into human and planetary health – if we treat ourselves and our surrounding nature seriously. Searching for meaning becomes palpable.
ABOUT DR GINDI
Website of Dr Gindi with works and exhibitions.