Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Seppuku by Vinod Bharadwaj, Perceptions from the precipice, Colour of Buddhism and more..


Seppuku  by Vinod Bharadwaj

Poet, writer, art and film critic Vinod Bharadwaj has been working on his novel, ‘Seppuku’ which is focused on the highs and lows of the art world. Published in Hindi and later in English too, the novel is to be released on 8th November 2013 at the much awaited Jaipur Art Summit, reveals the author.

1: Why have you named your novel ‘Seppuku’? Any particular reason?

Vinod Bharadwaj: Actually I had started to write this novel some years ago. During the time my friend eminent artist Manjit Bawa was in coma, I was shocked one day to see in the colour section of a newspaper his photograph taken at a party. An artist of Gaitonde’s stature passed away without the Press getting any inkling of it. Similarly, Manjit Bawa’s going into coma – and he had remained in coma for a long time – was not much of a news for the Press either.
I have closely observed, known and judged the art circles of Delhi since 1974. After 2002 the obscene amount of money that flowed into this world had created an aura of the ‘underground’ around it. Then in 2008 this art world got a jolt and got exposed.
While Manjit was still in coma, on the pretext of writing a story about a highly successful artist who had passed into coma I tried to figure out the lights and shades of the world of modern art. But I filed away my notes after writing only three chapters. It’s now some time since Manjit passed away. My friend Uday Prakash’s short story collection Tirichh had a beautiful Manjit Bawa drawing on its cover. But I didn’t want to relate Manjit’s story.
 I made a resolution to finish writing my novel by my birthday (7 October) this year. Film and theatre critic Ajit Rai was aware that I was writing a novel on those lines. On numerous occasions he asked me for extracts from the novel for publication in the inaugural issue of Doordarshan magazine Drashyantar.
 Initially I had no name in mind for the novel. But while I was writing it, I noticed a headline in The Times of India which read ‘Corporate Seppuku’. Around this time popular Hollywood movie Wolverine had also released which showed, in the opening sequences, Japanese soldiers carrying out the ritual of ‘seppuku’ (slitting the stomach) before the atom bomb is dropped on Nagasaki. Its synonym hara-kiri is better known among Hindi readers but I found ‘seppuku’ had a better resonance and sounded more powerful. The expression ‘art seppuku’ gradually seeped into my innards. Indeed initially I had named the novel ‘Art Seppuku’ but my friend Manglesh Dabral suggested I should just call it ‘Seppuku’, a suggestion I liked.
 2: Why did you decide to have the novel simultaneously translated into English?
VB: Many years ago, a close friend  Brij Sharma who had started his journalistic career with me in The Times of India had published translations of some of my poetry in the Ahmedabad edition of the paper while working there as Assistant Editor. Recently, when I told him I was writing a novel on the art world, he offered to translate it. It’s English, the language of the gods, which rules the art world anyway. So I thought that the English-speaking world should also get to know about the novel.
 3: The novel uses references to sex in a characteristic style.
 VB: Yes, in one episode the protagonist asks his lady doctor whether he was allowed to have sex after leaving the hospital? And the doctor tells him laughingly: “Tolstoy was unable to write without sex and Picasso was unable to paint it, so how can I stop you?”
But I have only referred to sex in the novel by implication; there are no explicit descriptions. For instance in four or five places there are references to cunnilingus. Now, the male chauvinist thought processes tend to become confused by the mention of cunnilingus. But I have seen the concept of cunnilingus both as a complete form of art and a sharp statement duirng the time plays like The Vagina Monologues were performed.
 4: What next?
VB: I am planning to write one more novel. It’s about a 50-year-old man lost in the maze of three women’s near-psychopathic jealousies. I quite like the format of a short novel. The 11 chapters of Seppuku tell a complicated story spread over a long time but the novel itself is not all that long.
(This interview is an excerpt from the author's conversation with Vani Prakashan )


Five elements of art
( Work at the show)
Convention Centre Foyer, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, is presenting an art exhibition displaying the art works by Kamal Sharma. The Udaipur born artist is highly experimental with painting and uses a number of mediums for create masterpieces. Kamal is a National Award winner who has painted a number of portraits of many different celebrities. 

Sketches, miniature paintings, abstract arts, 3D paintings and such other variations of art works have been explored by this very talented contemporary artist. His versatility and clarity of work is simply impressive and this exhibition is a chance to explore his latest works on canvas.
The show is on view from 14th to 18th November 2013.

Perceptions from the Precipice
( Work on display)
Art Musings, Mumbai presents a solo exhibition of Kerala based artist Gopikrishna featuring paintings in oils and watercolours. The show titled, ‘Perceptions from the Precipice’  features the storyteller in Gopikrishna who builds his universe with myriad creatures and characters, each conveying their own subtle wisdom. His paintings appear as though they are pages from a book of fairytales. 
In his surrealistic canvas, one can witness the ordinary and the impossible, unity and solitude, illumination and darkness. The artist believes that his body of works are a testament to the pinnacles and ravines his life has been through and how perception has changed from each precipice about life and the surroundings. Exuding a sense of timelessness, these works seek out the spiritual fibres deeply hidden in the structure of life -forms.”
The show is on view till 5th December 2013
Landscape Photography
( work on display)
All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi presents a photography show by photographer Sushil Khandelwal. Photography is the art of capturing the surroundings beautifully and Sushil is all set to woo the photography enthusiasts with his collection of eye - catching photographs. 
Sushil learnt the art of photography at 'The Modern Institute of Photography' and from the past 28 years has been teaching this art at 'Photography Department of School of Planning and Architecture'. He is versatile and knows how to capture the scenes around him perfectly using the right kind of tone, composition and colour. He loves capturing landscapes, nature and the environment in his camera.
The show is on view from 8th November till 14th November 2013.

The Colour of Buddhism

( work by Jaime Leon)
The Korean Cultural Centre, New Delhi presents a solo show of photography by photographer and journalist Jaime Leon.

The show displays a monk, the spiritual transformations of a man devoted to meditation, material renunciation and monastic life in a totally different light - as a tourist capturing the skyline of Hong Kong with his camera.

The show is on view till 5th November 2013.

(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)

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