February – March 2011
by Franck Barthelemy
Bangaloreans had a great month of March. Plays, art exhibitions, movies or concerts enlightened our days. When the geopolitics make the world go mad and upside down, it feels so good to be able to take a break with art. Not that all the artists are talking about light subjects but at least they take the viewers somewhere else, they make them think about something else, they let them travel beyond boundaries. And when we look at some of the art, we feel that governments all over the world should look at arts more often. The artists' visions, sometimes predictions, will make them review their policies and maybe encourage them to focus on the right things.
The Goethe Institute organised Real Space - Conceptual Space, an exhibition of photographs by three very famous German photographers, Heidi Specker, Susanne Brügger and Thomas Demand. In their own ways, the photographers explored the reality of space. Susanne showed photographs of Berlin taken from the sky or at a height, the way a 3-D map maker would have done it. Thomas explores constructed or reconstructed interiors and play with volumes and colours. And Heidi, who was present at the exhibition opening, shares with us low resolution digital photos of buildings in Berlin. She explained the photos have been taken 15 years ago, when the digital cameras were not as advanced as they are today. As a consequence, there is a blur effect on the big formats that fits very well the city of Berlin. The viewers can imagine the ghosts of what we used to call East Berlin. And surprisingly, Heidi lives today in one of the buildings she photographed so long ago. It was a vision, maybe.
Gallery SKE displayed installations by Susanta Mandal titled How Long Does it Take to Complete a Circle? Susanta explores the energies that go through pipelines. What's happening in the pipes that are in the walls all around us? The pipes are forming networks, like secret tunnels leading to unexplored places, places we do not even suspect. Susanta represents the flow of all these energies with soap water going through the pipes, orange threads moving on pulleys and winches. He creates a very slow motion around the installations. He sets a perfect environment for the viewers to be taken away to the pipe journey. Where will it take me if I follow my pipes at home? Will it take me to my neighbours? Will my pipes connect to their pipe? What secrets will the pipes reveal to me? Susanta crafted a great story that takes the viewers into circle, a moment of infinity maybe.
Apparao shared with us Within the Weaves, a group show gathering together works of Manish Nai, Smriti Dixit, Sultana Hasan and Rajesh Patil. Sharan Apparao proposed us to look for the fibre within the works. Apparao also made us discover The Pages of a Portfolio, a fascinating dip into Bose Krishnamachari's works.
Gallery Sumukha showcased Dolls, a group exhibition on dolls' representations. Going through the exhibition was like going through a big kinder garden, with toys all around. Some were more realistic than others. But all were emotionally different. The viewers could probably connect easily with the representations he/she was familiar with or the representation he/she could remember from his/her childhood: Barbie and big Jim for instance. Beyond the visual aspects of the toys, each artist brought into the show different analysis and criticism. The show was a good summary of the role that the dolls played on our personality.
L'Alliance Française displayed Ravi Shah's sculptures in Natureal Dimension. Ravi explores the various aspects of relationships between being human beings and nature. The show was very contemplative.
The Goethe Institute gave us the opportunity to see Life Or Theatre? which included 62 small gouaches by late Charlotte Salomon who painted them in the South of France between 1940 and 1942 before being deported to Auschwitz. Her last words, handing over the gouaches to a friend were: "Keep them. C'est toute ma vie!" (This is all my life)
1 Shanti Road was very (very) active! They put together, Distress migration, an exhibition of black and white photographs by Selva Prakash, a photo journalist reporting on migrants. They showed Bangalore Series, by Ellinor Euler which had drawings and stitchings on handmade paper to express her stay in India. And Anita Dube had a very interesting and emotional lecture on the Radical Group titled Midnight Dreams: The Tragedy of a Lone Revolutionary KP Krishnakumar and the Radicals. The exhibition was very insightful.
Kynkyny presented Bird on the Wire by Debabrata Hazra who has a multicolour passion for birds with a very personal style. They also brought to us a show of photographs by Pallon Daruwala, the architecture photographer. Pallon launches folios. Maybe the show was for them who wanted to start collecting photos.
NGMA illuminated the screens with the Travelling Film South Asia Festival. We enjoyed very moving short movies like Afghan Girls Can Kick, depicting the journey of the first ever Afghanistan women's national soccer team. It was indeed a rare documentary.
Dhattu staged Bhakta Prahlada, a string puppet show, in Guddada Anjaneya temple. The NGO makes an effort to revitalize the cultural life in the temples, and it was very well done!
Tasveer is organizing Thereafter..., the last show of the season, by Srikanth Kolari. The photographer will take us through Jharia, Kashmir and the Tsunami coast with his unique ability to freeze time in black & white. Don't miss the April show!
And finally, I thought I would give some news from Sunoj D, a visual artist working from Bangalore. Environment and urban / rural struggle are Sunoj's favourite themes and he illustrated them brilliantly in Route / root, in Mumbai recently at the Guild. We hope to see his works soon in Bangalore.
Susanta Mandal: Image Courtesy the artist
Bose Krishnamachari: Image Courtesy the artist
Princess Pea Shalabhanjika: Image Courtesy the Pea family and Rob and Dean Art
Shrikant Kolari: Image Courtesy the artist