Vidya Gastaldon | ArtKrush | VIDYA GASTALDON

Feb 21 2007

One To Watch /

Geneva-based French artist Vidya Gastaldon creates microcosms of hallucinatory, saccharine symbols with her sculptures, drawings, video animations, and prints. Working with mediums traditionally associated with feminine labor, such as knitting, sewing, and crocheting, Gastaldon continues the tradition of feminist trailblazers like Judy Chicago, Mary Kelly, and Rosemarie Trockel, but consciously avoids overt political statements.

Eastern religion and new-age spirituality are dominant themes in Gastaldon’s work — especially the idea of transformation. In her sculptures, yarn and thread form mountainous cones and internal organs, while her drawings depict mystical creatures with exaggerated smiley faces that morph into fantastical landscapes. Gastaldon’s embrace of spirituality and psychedelia is genuine, but she also explores mankind’s darker side through her allusions to nuclear destruction and the pervasive imagery of mass marketing.

After exhibiting for several years, Gastaldon’s career finally caught fire in 2006 with solo gallery shows in Zurich, London, and Paris, a spot in Art Basel’s Statements section, and a solo museum exhibition in Switzerland. The full range of Gastaldon’s work is currently on view in her solo exhibition Stop Believing, Start Knowing at the Swiss Institute in New York. The title raises age-old questions of faith and knowledge, evoking spiritual rites of passage and quests for certainty and understanding. Its implied assertion is an excellent expression of Gastaldon’s oeuvre, in which all of the Earth’s elements are connected in a seamless interchange of organic energy. (AK)

Gastaldon’s work is on view in New York in Stop Believing, Start Knowing at the Swiss Institute through March 10 and the group show Hello I’m Crashing at Salon 94 through March 20.