by Rumi Banerjee
“I am the promise which cannot be kept and my charms lies in just that, I am the sweetness of what is, with the regret for what is not....”
Predominantly a conceptual and political artist, her work reflects her position as a feminist South Asian American. She creates a woman's world. Jaishri Abichandani explores the expansion and scope of a woman's life and world with her range of experiences. She masterfully synthesized research about woman's body languages and psyche as well as their different roles in the society. She captures the nuanced complexities of its contemporary reality. In the works of mind-bending effect, she explores the diversity and tensions of this world, delving in the zones where light and darkness momentarily touch. In the process, she purposefully lets stereotypes clash with each other and suddenly evaporate. As if providing her counterpoint to the seemingly harmonious fixity of such stereotypes, Abichandani appears to suggest the ever-shifting, inherently subverting impulse towards metamorphosis that is life itself. Her practice manifests as installations, sculptures, paintings, events, and exhibitions focusing on issues of gender and power. Working in a range of mediums including painting, sculpture, video, and photography, the Mumbai-born, New York-based artist investigates, through the prism of her gendered perspective, themes of power, violence, and vulnerabilities that are embedded in the political, social, and cultural sphere of contemporary society. She was also a participating artist in Gen-Next IV, at Aakriti Art gallery at Kolkata. The physical artwork she makes encircle multiple aesthetics to examine the implications of individual, political, and spiritual choices, especially in exploring contradiction and moral ambivalence. Symmetry, repetition, visual puns, and dark humors are some of the strategies she employs to investigate complex socio- political issues, often using the internet and social networking sites for contemporary source material, narratives, and images.
A Bizarre Solitude
Her work ranges from paintings to photography, drawings, and different objects she molds as she requires them to be used. I V Toshain, the young Bulgarian Artist's multilayered images reveal the underlying disturbances that happen in a culture that celebrates youth and worships physical attractiveness. The artist uses transparencies on top of drawings with beasts and demons emerging like an x-ray from the smooth skin and hair of the youthful subject.
She creates a platform for her fascination with globally relevant topics like romanticism, mankind, sentimentality and the ancient image of a noble savage. Her landscapes re-emerge as a metaphor and as a screen for projection. Nature and man, is at the center of her work. The painting does not drain itself in the combination of “Man and Landscape”; it possesses a much wider spectrum, operating with an outlandish behavior and psychedelic accents. One notices a strong tendency towards natural mysticism. It is immersed by Utopia and longing. Elapsed visions of the future. Encountering impressions of another world. One needs to regard Toshain's pictures from a different perspective they also remind us we are not living in a fantasy world. A world that is not only idyllic but is also fractured. There is much good to dream, but it carries evil in its wake. The break in modern art between the world and the individual, between fantasy and reality.
She has done post graduation from the Academy Brera at Milano and graduated from the academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. She began her artistic career with exhibitions in Vienna as well as Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Mexico, USA. In 2006, Toshain became the finalist of the “Diesel new Art Award” in Vienna. She was also selected for Gen Next III at Aakriti Art Gallery at Kolkata. Her concepts deal with life and death and have a strong visual appeal. In her works she has attempted to build up a synthesis between plants, human, animal parts, glamour and inferno.
The Bald-Headed Protagonist
The bald headed youth has become Fang Lijun's characteristic figure and widely interpreted as the symbol of disillusion, mockery, and rebellion. He blends aesthetic with contemporary comics, folk art, and dynastic painting creating a national identity in unrest, distilling a position of integrity from tradition and the modern world. Fang Lijun, the Cynical Realist's work encapsulates the disillusionment of China's youth, a generation defined by the events at Tiananmen Square and China's domestic policies. Constructed around slack narratives Fang's images personalize angst and rebellion, his fictional suggestions are conveyed through his illustrative style and through his re-occurring bald-headed protagonist. Fang's enormous sized prints revive the ancient Asian practice of woodblock printing -- a complicated and exacting process of carving a 'negative' image into a panel, coating the surface in ink, and impressing the image onto paper each different colour and tone requiring a separate plate and order of printing. Due to their immense scale, Fang's images are composed on several adjoined scrolls; the elongated strips create both an emotive fragmenting of the image, and a reference to memory and historical witness. Thematically, each of these print describes the predicament of the individual against the 'crowd', creating an atmosphere of spiritual contemplation of solitude, the pursuit for personal integrity in the face of adversity. Fang's paintings evoke a humorous hyper realistic effect. Fang portrays a kind of kewpie figures, each based on his own image. Contrasted with the kitsch palette and pop rendering of the grotesque cherubs, Fang's painting approaches the sanctity of ideological assurance with a compassionate cynicism. Later series include the water series, dreamlike works of swimmers, and gigantic, multi-panel, woodblock prints.
Poetry in Motion ---
Arrange whatever pieces come your way – initially Paul Kaiser's art was in experimental filmmaking and writing for recorded voice. After ten years of teaching students with acute learning disabilities, with whom he collaborated in making multimedia reflections of their minds, which helped him to originate two key ideas psychological space, and drawing as performance, that paved the way for the solo and collaborative digital artworks he has been making since the mid-90s. The imagery reflects what one apprehends with the mind's eye. These works extend over a wide range of forms and disciplines, including dance, music, installation, and public art. Kaiser's solo artworks include a pair of abstract films, an interactive exhibit at The Exploratorium in San Francisco, and a multimedia installation at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He is a digital artist and writer. He earned his bachelor's degree in film and art history from Wesleyan University and his M.Ed. from American University. He has written and lectured extensively about digital art, filmmaking, dance, and education.
Kaiser has been an inexhaustible collaborator. His all-embracing collaborations with his key colleagues Shelley Eshkar and Marc Downie resulted in 'Open Ended Group', which is a digital art collective, composing all three of them. Infrared cameras do the amazing artwork. The infrared cameras have eyes only for the reflective markers worn by the performing bodies, and not for the bodies themselves. They are blind to the image of muscle and flesh, and with that, all sense of effort as well, since they cannot see the struggle and sweat of the performing body. The face also vanishes, and with it the expressions that signal intention, charisma, and feeling. What can these cameras convey? Does the exquisiteness of motion have an existence of its own, independent of the body that created it? How will it be if these lenses trace our memories? Record the atoms as they fall upon the mind. Perhaps our memories will be filling with ghostlike movements. Do the virtuoso performers on stage distract us from a more indefinable beauty that we sense only vaguely when watching them? Can a lens trace our memories, which are filled with spectral movements that we can barely put a manifestation to? Alternatively, can we multiply individual motions into fluctuating crowds and create a synthetic urban density that we can re-project into the real spaces of our cities?