March – April 2011
by Franck Barthelemy
The month of April was quite a busy one. It was rocking abroad with half a dozen art fairs across the world, from Paris to Mexico, Beijing to Chicago, Cologne to Monaco or Brussels. Two Indian galleries were there, in the European capital city. The ever active Gallery SKE from Bangalore was at Art Brussel with works of Sudarshan Shetty, Bharti Kher and Navin Thomas. Gallery Maskara from Mumbai was there too with T Venkanna's paintings. Great blend of styles to represent India in the European capital. And the Bangalore galleries, theatres, institutions and artists made it as well for the joy of the art freaks, despite the beginning of a hot summer.
Ranga Shankara took us to Paris more than 15 years ago with Art, a play written in 1994 by Yasmina Reza. Marc, Serge and Yvan are long time friends. Serge bought an expensive painting, white colour on white canvas. Marc hates it and does not understand why Serge might like (and buy) something he does not. Yvan does not care really and wonders why Marc cannot be happy for Serge who obviously bought a painting he likes. The friends go on and on; with anger, break downs and reconciliation, all around a painting where the gang of three could project anything, anything but themselves. Malevitch is obviously not too far...
Jaaga, the unusual art space, showed us an interesting overview of Urban Bengaluru, an exhibition of photographs. German photographer Fabian Sixtus Korner conducted a two-week workshop with five amateur and professional peers and they presented all together their views of the city, they are personal ... very personal.
The Goethe Institute gifted Bangalore a talk by Atul Dodyia, Somersault in Muddy Waters. The Bombay based artist embarked us in a journey through his works, from his debuts in the 90s to date. Aficionados probably rediscovered Atul's works and his super sense of creativity. A few confidences about successes and challenges made the talk not only interesting but also genuine. Atul being a great speaker, the talk undoubtedly brought us considerable knowledge about his career, even providedenough material for a great book. Someone should be there to make it.
Crimson put together A Twist in the Tail, a curated exhibition showcasing paintings and sculptures of 12 young artists inspired by animals, mixing their representation in the urban mess that could be a city. Different styles, different media, different messages. The diversity of the works made it a very colourful exhibition.
Apparao continues to bring to the city masters' works with Yesterday Once Again, an exhibition of recent paintings by Sakti Burman. The Parisian Indian artist showcased lyrical and narrative works at the border of tradition and modernity to the viewers. A refreshing dip in Sakti's fantastical world.
Kynkyny went into Pop! with an exhibition of paintings by Jon Den Hartigh, an American art teacher based in the city. Rickshaws, Enfields, trucks and Ambassadors took us to the 60s with a feel of enchantment and déjà vu. Great success!
The Indian Institute of Cartoonists had the great idea to make us resonate with the cricket frenzy with Stumped!, an exhibition of caricatures by Shijo Varghese. Those who know few things about the game had a good laugh!
1 Shanti Road proposed us a different evening with a reading of poetries by Slovenian poets and writers. There is always something happening at the Shantinagar residency. one can never fails to remember to check!
Performance artist Vasudev C had the great initiative to perform Unwinding the Past at the NGMA. He believes the clothes we wear not only confine our bodies but also detain our emotions. Vasudev, in the beautiful environment of the Manikyavelu Mansion's mirror pool, showed the viewers there is life under the cloth. Dressed like a mummy with bands of cotton stripped around his body, he delicately removed all of them dancing on Namrata Kartik & Yashas Shetty's music. As usual, the NGMA was at its best with this one.
The NGMA just launched a series of screening of documentaries about heritage sites in India to enlighten our Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings in May. Sanchi, Kornark, Mamallpuram, Vijayanagara, Delhi, Taj Mahal, Mewar and Goa are on the programme. An encouraging way to remember the treasures of India indeed.
INTACH, the NGO, organized a wonderful heritage walk in Gavipuram at the occasion of the World Heritage Day. The visit of the Gavigangadhareshwara temple with experts' commentaries made my day. And the good news is that INTACH organises walks around Bangalore every month. This NGO is doing a tremendous work to preserve heritage sites and buildings all around the city. The challenge is tough, as many local artists already showed us in their works. Modernity and progress have often clashed with culture heritage and history. Can't we find a way around it? Can Bangalore be modern with preserving her heritage? Check up their programme online, they need your support.
Jagriti is getting ready for a Tagore festival to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore early May. Films, seminars, paintings, sangeeth recitals and the première of the play Crisis of Civilisation : A Journey with Tagore by Ranjon Ghoshal. A wonderful way to pay tribute to the Indian legend.
And finally, Bangalore artist CF John is in the news in Delhi till the end of May, where he is part of Cross x Currents, a group show curated by Sushma Bahl at Art Positive. CF John is a different kind of an artist. An activist, a painter, an installation setter, he is concerned by the environment and works actively to raise awareness and mobilize his communities and friends to fight along with him. His works carry subtle messages and are charged with emotions. The viewer feels them like a feather caressing his/her skin.
Images Courtesy: the artist | Bodhi Art, Inc | Apparao Gallery