Art News & Views

Delhi Dais

The Month That Was

by Lopamudra Pakira

Que Sera Sera

A dazzling Audrey Hepburn sharing the canvas space with Meena Kumari and spotting a bindi, Madhuri Dixit with her million dollar smile sharing the space with Frida Kahlo, draped in laces, perky sequins, Swarovski, keeps you wondering what it could be. Veteran artist Kanchan Chander brought to the lime light mixed media, canvas and sculptural installations in Revisiting the Popular curated by Sushma Bahl hosted by Anu Bajaj in Gallery Art Positive which was on display till the 10th of December, 2011. She herself appeared within the frame to enter some of the characters and silhouettes of the idols as she revokes the popular that also venerates the classical. Paintings in water colours and mixed media appeared alongside drawings, digital works, and photographs on paper, canvas, and takhtis besides sculptures, and installation in wood and steel and on wall, in this collection.

Frida Kahlo comes and goes in many of her canvases where she has made a series of self-portraits, Frida and Me. Also showcased was a collaborative work between Kanchan and her son Pallav, called Black and White. To make an alpha and omega of the exhibition, Revisiting the Popular reminded of all the things one could be a part of that of the popular film stars, the posters, feminist idols, and many more.


Dichotomy of Trajectories

Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.

Is seeing always believing? The critical denomination of any man will not be where he standing flashes of coziness and accessibility, but where he stands at times of challenge and polemic situation. Art be it in form is actually the reflection of the social, economic, political condition and also not to forget the artist mirror against nature.

The exhibition that brings to the lime light what the artist is seeing and what he believes in is What We See and What We Believe In curated by Pranamita Borgohain and Vikas Nand Kumar at Niv Art Centre. The two artists Ajay Narayan and A.K. Doughlas, both Delhi based, have a mutual draw string or rather conviction where they put up their diverse forms and methods of working. Pranamita says that this show does not just slouch down in a particular theme or concept but there is resilient association between the works of these two artists.

Ajay Narayan can be reckoned as a fine abstract painter who although had begun his art practice with figurative works but has intricated into his works a lot of play with form, colour, space and takes his major inspiration from anything and everything around him. All the more eye catchy was his unique sculptures which would a fanciful amalgamation of his available mundane objects and bouncy fantasies! These fiber glass and steel sculptures are simple forms that create a sublime impact.

Once you step out from this U Space, the exhibition has A.K. Douglas's works that shall get one back to the existent, feigning, harsh world where Douglas address some demanding matters to be thought of and also some farsighted questions. Douglas's works interesting take to discourse upon very contemporary issues we tend to jump into without even peering into the real matter. Beneath the edgy, bold, and provocative works Douglas questions and puts forward various questions from that of life, death, fear, divinity, faith, humanity.

The whole exhibition is the journey from one's individual space to that of the tangible world and back again. Even if the two artists are poles apart, they have a common draw string of being built on the same faith, and that is of provoking your thought.


To Err is 'Artist'

James Joyce says “A man's errors are his portals of discovery.” Johny M L thus put thirty artists in this threshold of discovering ideas, burrowing deep into their observances, and pallets to come out with sets of remarkable works, in the show A 4 Arple in Gallery Ragini. Here the thirty artists including Gigi Scaria, Murali Cheeroth, Kavita Singh Kale, Reji Arakkal, Soghra Khurasani, Sunil Padwal, Vivek Vilasini and others have interestingly treated their ideas of error in various modes and mediums yet with their hall mark trace on them. As Johny says A 4 Arple would be more of an art project that talks about cynicism and satirically points out to many socio- cultural and politic- economic manners in and around us.

It is taught to all in school A for APPLE, and through that we realize what is not an 'error' or even better we are not out of place. But if the word is somehow mis spelt then we find lots of recommendations, philosophies, and interrogations hammering us. Nothing clenches and comprehends this threat in the furtive access of power games in our private lives. ARPLE is the error which can actually be overlooked and when noticed it can become trendy blunder. The attempt to connect art with that of art of writing and permissible spelling mistakes is what Johny puts in this exhibition. About A 4, he says that it's the size of any normal writing paper and would represent standardization and regulation. All what one can see in this exhibition would be great works within a restricted space!


Ode to 'Word'

Would you call it some cutting edge art or may be react to the statement Asuvidha Ke Liye Khed Hain (inconvenience is regretted) written in bold red alphabets greeting you right on the face in gallery Exhibit 320. It was a Vibha Galotra work, displayed in the show Words: A User Manual curated by Himali Singh Soin.

If Vibha Galotra was satirically giving an instance how words can also get to alienation, then Sachin George narrated how various words put together actually become folded piles of newspaper in our everyday lives! Hanif Kureshi's composition with fonts, duping the mind (in flux) created responsiveness whereas in Sarnath Banerjee's drawings of memories of lost objects and ideas and Prayas Abhinav's existential pursuit of an illusion with a hope of instant salvation, with meaningless words. We can say may be the words are in their silence. The Philosophy of Namak Haram by Raqs Media talks about the various books that could have been written but are all unwritten and also there are debts that one cannot repay and thus become a namak haram! Their work shows stacks of books piled up representing the set of book that have the unwritten words. Overall this show was a perfect interplay of words and text, sometimes leading, sometimes misleading and sometimes confusing. The show is on till 25th December, 2011.


The Story Teller

“I am afraid to fix meanings. I am very comfortable with uncertainty and have found a place of comfort in it.… This is the state of mind I work in. If something is discordant it just feels right. If the incomprehension is comfortably complete but at that point it begins to generate meaning as it were and is no longer incomprehension, it's a way towards comprehending.” Says Ranbir Kaleka, in an interview with Meera Menezes.

Fables will be his first chief exhibition in Delhi, since 1995. The visual description and storyline of the exhibition follows a dream-logic based on an aesthetic and psychosomatic background. The exhibition consists of 5 works, 3 still moving images (video projections on canvas with images) and 2 digital prints on canvas. Ranbir retells the implausible brittleness and beauty of human consciousness with its unnerving dependence on a discursive enterprise by which it feels simultaneously chained and authorized. His ardent obsession with this central existential predicament places him at a pivotal position in the very historical development that his work powerfully but subtly undermines.

Kaleka takes up everyday dreams, joys and sorrows as his material, and extracts from it an essential, existential sorrow and a meditation on the fleetingness of emotion even as light fleets across the screen to create images. The show encompasses a fruitful journey, dilemmas etc. of human life. The show on till 8th January is a must visit and also a must bid!


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