Monday, July 22, 2013

How Over Anxiety about Art can cause Death - For both Artists and Critics and more..

How Over Anxiety about Art can cause Death - For Both Artists and Critics
In neat pin striped pants, tucked in white shirt, and a waist coat, the artist looks more like a singer than a painter. Old stereotypes are out and new ones are in. I sit there inconspicuously and watch him. My gallerist friend receives him. Before her, quite valiantly, he genuflects, unrolls his works, one by one. She looks at them with studied eyes and looks at my side for an occasional reassurance. I had switched off the sound element from the whole scene. Hence, once the silent charade was over, I could see through my misty glasses, him rolling up his works and putting them in their case. I could also see him picking up a marker pen from his designer leather pouch and signing off a consignment letter with the gallery. A deal has been done. How things have been changed by time! 
Do you remember Mungerilal? Mungerilal ke Haseen Sapne? For the post-Doordarshan kids a little recap. Mungerilal, acted by Raghuvir Yadav is an ordinary man, an office clerk, to be precise. He overcomes his limitations by day dreaming. By the way, this serial was directed by the present day hit maker, Prakash Jha. Raghuvir Yadav, after a hiatus reappeared in Peepli Live with the song ‘Mahangai’. Now I become a Mungerilal. My memories fly back to 1996.
( Raghuveer Yadav in Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne)
I walk into a gallery where some Bhupen Khakkars, A.Ramachandrans, Krishen Khannas and Gulam Mohammed Sheikhs are hung. An elderly lady with her reading specs at the precipice of her nose sits as if even an earthquake would not move her from that posture. She is completely focused on a hardbound ledger. An artist walks in. Phata purana khadi kurta, dusty leather shoes, jhola, the smell of aaloo palak and a lot of humility. He bows before her. She yawns as if she were a bovine bugler. It looks like a pre-planned meeting. I switch off my audio track. The muted scene shows me the young man genuflecting hopelessly and unrolling his works one by one before this lady whose attention has not moved an inch from the ledger. I switch on my audio and I hear this: “agar chaahiye to idhar rakho. Saab aane ke baad aake leke jaao.” (If you want to keep them here do it. When Mr. So and So comes I will show and later you can take it back). The man falls at her feet or does something similar to that effect with his face. I defocus myself and walk out. 
Things have changed for good. Jholawalas have become pinstriped dapper ones. Even when pinstripes are absent they carry off themselves well. They don’t go beyond a point to impress the gallerist or curator. One good thing that has been happening of late is the removal of CDs and DVDs from the whole system exchange. Straight emailing has made things easier. I can say one thing to the artists: Do not be impatient. If you have done your work and sent the images to a few whom you trust or posted in facebook or elsewhere, just wait for the result to come in. A good curator/critic/gallerist/buyer/collector/writer is always on a look out for a fresh work of art; a new approach and a refreshing philosophy. If your work has ‘it’, they get it. A bad critic/curator/gallerist is someone who does not see a good work of art even if it is hung in front of him. They wait for someone to recommend it. They are the kind of people who consult horoscope before making love. Forget them. 
(Writer Anton Chekhov)
The lesson is very simple. Be dignified and be alert. Don’t bend down to get a chance. If your works speak for you, it will definitely take you to that climatic point. I don’t want my artist friends to feel like and die like a government clerk in Anton Chekhov’s story, Death of a Government Clerk. Ivan Dmitritch Tchervyakov is a government clerk. He goes to the music opera and he was in a very blissful state. In between, as it could happen to humans, he felt like sneezing and he did. He politely looked around and made sure that he did not disturb anybody. But suddenly he noticed two rows ahead a bald man wiping his pate and neck with a hand kerchief. To his shock Tchervyakov found out that he was the head of another government department. He went to him and apologized for sneezing. The officer politely accepted the apology and wondered why he apologized to him at all. But Tchervyakov was not happy. He was really worried. He discussed the issue with his wife. Next morning he went to the officer’s home and again apologized. This time he was dismissed without audience. But it increased his anxiety. So he kept on trying to meet the officer. Finally, as he could not tolerate this bugger’s insistence, the officer said, Be out. Tchervyakov came back home, laid down on the sofa and breathed his last. 
Over anxiety about your work of art could at times anger a critic or a gallerist and it could even cause your death. So take it easy. If your work is really good, a sneeze cannot erase it from the face of the earth. 


The Svikriti Show
( A photography work at the show)
The Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata presents a group show titled, ‘ Svikriti’, of art works by young artists who have won the annual competition which the academy conducts. Working as a perfect platform to scout for talented young artists from the country, the academy chooses and exhibits the winners’ artworks in a show.
This year in its 46th edition, held in January this year, the chosen winners of the competition are,  Shri Amit Dey (Sculpture), Shri Anirban Sheth (New Media), Shri Arnab Mukherjee (Photograph), Shri Jayraj Singh Parmar (Photograph), Shri Mithun Das (Mixed media painting), Partha Pratim Mondal (Installation), Pradip Mondal (Sculpture), Rajen Mondal (Graphics) and Raju Tota (Acrylic painting).

"Svikriti" is the art exhibition that will showcase the art works of these 9 budding talents full of potentials and possibilities. The show displays prints, paintings, sculptures, photography works and installations.
The show is on view till the 11th of August 2013.

Rejoicing Nature at Alankritha gallery

(A work at the show)
Alankritha Art Gallery, Hyderabad, presents a solo show of works by artist B Kumaraswamy in a show titled, ‘ Rejoicing Nature’. Metaphorical and lyrical the collection that this artist presents lends an air of mystery to the visuals.
The works have been made over a span on a year and depict women and nature in harmony. With an equal mix of warm and cool colours, the artist brings the canvas to life with the symbolism and subtle metaphors.

The brush work is fluid and gentle, capturing the essence of the female forms and the nature they embody. Fantastical muses as they inspire the artist to bring out the concepts of femininity, fertility, beauty, and a genteelness feature in the works.

The show is on view till the 26th of July 2013.

A Show to Rebuild Uttarakhand

( A photography work on display at the show)
Indian August, Noida, presents a show titled, ‘A brand new day -  rebuilding Uttarakhand’. The CAMERAunLIMITED and art space, Indian August in collaboration with Goonj, presents a show for raising funds fort he rehabilitation and relief operations of the Uttarakhand victims and their families.

The show displays works of artists who have volunteered to give their artworks for display and sale purposes. All the collections from the show will go directly to Goonj which is undertaking a major relief operation in the flood affected regions of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.  On display are photographs, paintings and sculptures.

The participating artists are Anamitra Chakladar, Atanu Dey, Shilpi Choudhuri, Yatinder Kumar, Rohit Kumar, Sourabh Gandhi among others.

The show is on till the 5th of August 2013.

Looking In - show
(A work by Lalitha Shankar on display at the show)
Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore presents a solo of artist Lalitha Shankar, an MFA graduate from the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, USA.
The show titled ‘Looking In’, urges the viewer to look into the sculptures. Lalitha’s intention with this series of works, is to literally translate at the physical level, what an individual probably experiences in a contemplative state of mind. 

With simple lines and distinct patina colors on the bronze sculptures, she tries to bring forth the subtle meanings and interpretations of the spiritual concepts of the manifestations in reality and non-duality. Her intention is to provoke a certain intrigue and introspection in the viewer ‘s mind.

The show will commence on the 27th July 2013 and is on view till the 17th August 2013 

(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)

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