[The Month That Was]
by Franck Barthelemy
A press release made my day! Though the fact dates back to January, I missed it. I always believed India has great potentiality in terms of art and museums. Unfortunately, when I go to a public institution, I usually need to find my way through dust, glare and light reflection on improperly built glass cases, there is no explanation about what I see and no one around to provide me with information. So unless I prepare my visit before, it is really tough to appreciate what I see. Hence I really understand why when I visit these institutions I am most of the time alone with the dozing guards. I was extremely delighted to read recently that the Indian Government announced a USD 500,000 grant allocated to the Art Institute of Chicago under the Vivekananda Memorial Program for Museum Excellence to foster a 'museology' partnership between the American institution and Indian museums for the next four years. Exchange of museum professionals, courses and seminars are planned. I cannot wait to see the output of the partnership implemented in the museums!
Walls have very often attracted visual artists. Some work on them. Some work with them. Some photograph them. Some represent them. By organizing Hanging the Walls, a solo exhibition by Mysore based artist Sachidananda KJ, Sumukha give the opportunity to such an artist to showcase his walls. The exhibition is minimalist. Six large works are displayed. The choice for this zen attitude makes the artist's statement stronger: walls are permanent; walls have memories; walls are personal; walls are witnesses. And Sachidananda representing them with a palette of pastel colours perhaps epitomize them. In an attempt to bring more life to his paintings, the artist adds up isolated objects. A touch of Hockney that makes me smile.
Time & Space organized Parables, Visual Essays, a solo show by Moutushi. Once more, the artist opens up a door to her fantastical universe where objects come to life and representations are challenged. Moutushi's strokes are precise. They are delicate. They seem laid down on the paper or on the canvas in one movement, once and for all, the artist not allowing them any correction. They illustrate her confidence and her strength. They illustrate a natural flow of narration. Moutushi wants to tell the viewer a story, her story. In the midst of the delivery, she let transpire a bit of poetry. Not much though. Just enough to resonate with the viewers' affect, sometimes libido. It is interesting to notice the artist found it necessary to illustrate her visual essays with notes (in words). Perhaps she is sharing with us her personal journal or her artist's book. I personally feel the notes are not needed. The magic of her drawings and paintings stand alone, proudly.
Blue Spade brought to us Tamed Elements, a solo exhibition by Deepak Rajbhar. Deepak shows us a series of abstract oil paintings (mostly) with lots of textures and layers. The canvases are attractive. The viewers feel like touching them. They look like mirrors inviting reflections to go pass the other side, the way we see it in science fiction movies. Going the other side, seeing a different world, feeling new emotions, re-inventing a life. The artist clears the way to new fields of possible(s). A bit of brightness could have brought in more joy … but the artist is in control.
Parks' is at Tasveer with Pink is the Navy Blue of India1. Norman Parkinson's photographs are bringing glamour to Bangalore. After WWII, when Vogue sent Parks to Indian, they knew he would come back with a portfolio of a different nature. As the explorer he was, he exposed his models to India in style from Mahabalipuram to Kashmir. He brought Western fashion and photographed it in India with his famous classic sense of aesthetic and his great sense of humour. As the exhibition shows it, Parkinson worked with the most beautiful models who were always ready to do anything crazy for him, some said 'just for him'. The master of colours and light knew how to highlight his models' beauty and make the photograph a fashion cover.
The theatre enthusiasts enjoyed Sam Shepard's master play True West, directed by Prakash Aswani. Austin and Lee, two brothers, should have never met in their mum's kitchen on that day. Austin is a clean and neat screenwriter. Lee is a useless dude. A combination of events will transform Austin into Lee and vice versa. The highly realistic play is a continuation of Shepard's investigation about the father-son relationship. A good surprise in the city of Bangalore's cultural programme!
Have you ever thought about becoming a comedian? Mash gave that opportunity to a group of a dozen amateurs who acted for the first time at the Alliance Française after a few-week workshop. And they did really well in a series of short hilarious sketches. Those who are dreaming of an evening of laughter should not miss the next performance. Check up First Rush's programme online and come ready to forget your worries for an hour. Mash is so typical of what makes Bangalore a great place to be: learn, play and laugh. Remember for it!