Art News & Views

Universalizing Art through Individual Langue

“The Scream” (1893), the best-known of Edvard Munch's work, which is a part of the series titled “The Frieze of Life”, explores themes of life, love, fear, death and melancholy. It was the artist's preoccupation with subjects like alienation, neurosis and morbidity the subjects that continue to concern artists of the 21st century. Describing his inspiration for the work “The Scream”, the painter talked about sensing 'an infinite scream passing through nature', this could be the rhetoric of raw angst and untreated emotions. The beginning of the twentieth century witnessed a proliferation of dynamic movements in art that changed the face of artistic expressions perpetually. It was the onset of a new way of thinking which meant that art was no longer seen purely as a literal, descriptive medium. Art found itself in the realm of ideas. Whether or not art was based on figurative or non-figurative elements, from this point onwards it could be anything and everything as artists concerned themselves with every aspect of what it means to be alive today.

In the first decade of the twenty-first century when every identity has been reduced to being global, when every expression and feeling from love and compassion to woes and grief till fear and terror  all get resumed through Facebook networking from anywhere and everywhere on this planet; life has just become easy or simply the other way round! Indian artists at this historical juncture have started believing that art should become a universal approach to execute individual langue. Again this is not just limited to this south-Asian subcontinent but has become a prominent discourse of aesthetics being practiced worldwide. Here the subjective idea is delved with a perpetual voice to reach out and touch somebody's nerve anywhere in any context without any bar of boundaries and borders. And of course the thematic discourses are serious issues and concerns affecting the global account of survival and extinction even if the vision is given birth from an individual level.

In Kolkata, the Aakriti Art Gallery has taken a sincere initiative to bring together a bunch of fourteen artists from different corners of the country on a single platform to participate in a show titled “No Content Worries”.  The whole idea of this exhibition is to call in young, dynamic artists with fresh innovation whose works won't be based within the boundary of a context and hence will invoke a broader canvas of thought-process that transcends regionalism. A universal orientation of aesthetic discourse of our contemporary times will be devised where parameters like essentialism, contextualization, and categorization and so on won't be the determinant factors of understanding and appreciating the artwork. Rather art will evolve more on conceptual parameters depicting and deciphering the varied facets of the realities of life. The participating artists of this show are Priyanka Lahiri, Mansoor Ali, Nobina Gupta, Nanatu Behari Das, Barun Chowdhury, Somit Gupta, Sandip Daptari, Saptarshi Naskar, Partha Guin, Vivek Sharma, Debashis Datta, Sagar Bhowmik, Pappu Bardhan and Ketan Amin. The artworks on display will be a mixture of paintings, sculptures, video art and installations.

Angst and agony are ageless phenomenon that govern both our physical and psychological state of being and have different inferences at different times of social history. But when Priyanka Lahiri tries to depict these subjective bearings as disruptions of social pathos and global hierarchy of subversion and subjugation through her paintings, from an individual perception, the discourse becomes a unanimous voice of the collective mass against any oppression at any point of time in any spatial reality. Nantu Behari's sculptures are more concentrated in transcending the material-reality of the medium used because he can transform the material itself into a sculpture. He has been engaged in this process of execution since a few years when this handling of medium like junk, screws, iron nails, fiberglass and pins etc was quite nascent. Particularly in the two works which are being showcased in this show are based on the signifiers of human life in the global economy that has actually been reduced to a commodity. In his depiction he has raised a critical statement against the consumerist culture where everything is accounted on the basis of utilitarian ground and how fast that can be achieved is the only criteria of those who regulate and manipulate this economy.

Vivek Sharma on the other hand attempts to re-visit and re-interpret the tenets of the European Romantic Movement in a different way. He basically conceptualizes the revival of peace and harmony in human life and also the very essence that we are a very minute part of this vast Nature and the more we are going away from it, we are actually getting redundant as objects and commodities in the busy, open market space with no joy of living. Where as Pappu Bardhan treats the subconscious mind as an open canvas in a very minimalist way where it evolves into a discursive platform to decode the essence of human existence on the verge of objectification in this materialistic world. The pang of sustenance with emotional insecurity can be a caution statement in his works of art. Barun Chowdhury through personal metaphors in the form of animals such as 'cat', 'bear', 'bull'…has attempted to create a dream space in his paintings but every time each of these elements stands as symbols representing the metaphysics of  time. Barun takes us through a journey to a different level of psychic space where the antagonistic forces of social hegemony that have become the undercurrent in our day-to-day life are found to be quite palpable on his canvases.

In Partha Guin's works, he attempts to pave the path for deeper understanding that how life has been manipulated and governed under persuasive laws of media and popular culture. Somit Gupta also draws the relevance and deals with subjects like 'brain drain' and 'psychological slavery' in the global tug-of-war of the dominant-dominated relationship. In Nobina Gupta's video art “Nascent Forthcomings”, she urges to communicate the incoherent behavioral pattern of life and environ in an inchoative stage sensitizing our minds about its forthcoming stage. She takes us deep within the formative stage of nature where the attempt is to deliver and widen up the understanding of a bigger truth of life. Debashis Datta encapsulates the rat race in which human life has got completely entrapped in his works. The canvas gets splitted with objects and human beings but in the most incoherent manner where everything is in a state of isolation in spite of being together in the same space. Ketan Amin also treats the same subject in his sculpture “Master Striker” where the main mode of communication becomes gesture of a moving hand or resting feet. Sagar Bhowmik also indicates towards this alienation and induces a nostalgic mood through the reflections of an inanimate object still waiting in a uniquely devised realistic pattern.

Saptarshi Naskar obliquely combines the traditional embroideries with photo-realistic images where he devises some innocent moments of peace, harmony and affection with sense of fraternity. Sandip Daptari keeps the layer of inquisitiveness quite subtle in nature through his paintings that are encoded with symbols and metaphors and quite minimalist in approach. War and peace together come as leitmotif through the lying kites on the foreground in his work. Mansoor Ali concentrates on identity issues where he outlines a lyrical journey but engraved in pathos of containment, fright, loss of self that are inherent to the process of 'othering'. Mansoor creates a critique out of it in his works.

In this precise note, the evolution of art over a century across the globe where art practice from the compartmentalization of space and time has gone beyond its immediate peripheral reality has been encapsulated and interpreted with critical examples. The show “No Contentworries” must be treated as one such paradigm where a gallery becomes a path breaker in voicing the universal approach of execution and reciprocation of art through individual imageries and language. We look forward to some really intriguing works of these fourteen young artists from different corners of the country and give them a round of applause to be a part of the exhibition.

  Sarmistha Maiti 



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