Invisible Man, 2016

Miami Beach 2016
Kavi Gupta
Sculpture
Aluminum and concrete
381.0 x 1778.0 x 178.0 (cm)
150.0 x 700.0 x 70.1 (inch)
Invisible Man is a monument to the forgotten and ignored. Its title is a reference to Ralph Ellison’s classic novel about visibility and race. Contrary to the subjects of most public monuments, Kaino’s pedestal supports a man with hands raised in surrender. Viewing the figure from behind and circling to the front, the figure disappears from sight by way of a mirrored surface, leaving the viewer with an empty pedestal. The work is an interrogation of the purpose of artistic commemoration as a means towards cultural catharsis, and the political implications of canonizing figures in public spaces. Though it is said that memorials immortalize their subjects, they are ultimately objects which can be destroyed by mercurial political conditions. Literally faceless by nature of the illusion, Invisible Man nevertheless stands resolute, stoic even in this active erasure. By way of this conviction, the symbol of surrender instead emerges as a icon of defiance.