The Doubles of Art Scene: Intentional and Accidental
Man is a product of his milieu; so are artists. Hence, artists could get inspired by same event, context or material. They could even use the same material to produce their works of art. Artists who are absolute strangers, sitting in two different continents could produce identical works provided they telepathically think about the same thing in the same way. The old adage says, there are seven identical people in the world. So if you come across another person who looks like you, be sure he is not the only one, there are five more to follow. You are lucky if you avoid meeting your identical other/s. Consequences would be terrible if the ‘others’ start taking your position. I just need to remind you of Dostoyevsky’s novelette, ‘The Double’ where he narrates the sufferings of a government clerk whose identity is hijacked by an identical other.
|( Artist Mukesh Sharma with his work at the show)|
What do you do when two or three artists work with the same material and more or less express the same idea? Scale and volume of the work made out of the same material could justify the intentionality of the artists but not always so. Sometimes, it could be accidental copying or the blind faith of the artist that the other does not exist. In a more existential way the artist could argue in Camus’ lines: the other is hell. But what about the art critic who is supposed to see these works within the same spatial and temporal frames? I am keen on looking at the works of Indian artists than pursuing the works of the international artists. That does not mean that I am blind to whatever is happening out of India. My interest in those is only academic; I mean it is not emotional or a historical urgency.
|(Work by artist Mukesh Sharma)|
Mukesh Sharma is a dear friend. He lives and works in Delhi. Hailing from a small town in Rajasthan, Mukesh made his mark in the contemporary art scene during the boom years. He is primarily a painter who uses a lot of pictorial references from the lived and living traditions of his native land, Rajasthan. He mixes colonial history with a sufficient amount of pun/fun, with the history of our country, our interest in colonialism as a regrettable loss and arguable desire in his works. Rajasthan murals and miniature traditions have been always an inspiration to Mukesh. Then one day he realized that he could experiment with materials. Finding computer hardware junk was one such finding. Hence, for the last three years, Mukesh has been using computer junk as an additional material on his canvases that are predominantly done in acrylic on canvas.
|(Works by artist Mukesh Sharma)|
Recently Mukesh did an interesting project in his studio in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. It is called ‘Terabyte-ing Serpentine’, a site specific project. Though it is a misnomer as a studio based installation cannot be a ‘site specific’ installation (if we go by the rule book), if we take studio as (a) ‘site’ the qualifier stands justified. In this project, Mukesh critically looks at the scenario where changing technology, fashion and desire create junk out of computer hardware. He imagines this junk turning into a ‘naag’ (serpent). He creates a serpent out of obsolete computer key board and that is menacingly placed on the walls of the studio. Recollecting the memories of the women from his village visiting a temple in Rajasthan and their offering of the branches of a tree there, Mukesh creates an inverted tree out of extracted keys from unusable keyboards.
|(Works by artist Surekha - image courtesy Surekha)|
|(Works by artist Surekha - image courtesy Surekha)|
Mukesh reminds the viewer of this growing junk trouble by placing a danger light in one of those old monitors. To see light at the other end of the tunnel, he proposes that the computer junk could be used to produce terrace or interior gardens by converting old black and white computer monitors into flower pots. The project as a whole is interesting, mainly because it is done by an artist friend who has kindly taken me to see the installation. But two things that I noticed there which needed critical amputation were the mentioning of someone as the curator of this project and the constant reminiscence of some other works of art. I thought for the sake of my friendship with the artist, both could have been amputated then and there. But they were glaringly there; the former in the form of a name and the latter by their virtual presence.
|(Works by artist Krishnaraj Chonat - image courtesy Gallery Ske)|
I do not want to say that Mukesh follows the other two artists who have been coming to my mind, namely Surekha and Krishnaraj Chonat. Both of them are from Bangalore. First in 2010 Surekha did a project with computer junk, which was site specific in nature. In the same year Krishnaraj Chonat did a show with Gallery Ske, ‘My Hands Smell of You’. Both had computer junk as a main material. Interestingly, Mukesh Sharma was presented by Bangalore based Gallery Sumukha in a solo show titled, ‘Keyboard of Small Things’ (was it inter-gallery rivalry expressed via Arundhati Roy spoof?). Now I leave it to you to decide and judge for yourself.
|( A work by Bhavna Sonawane)|
Apparao Galleries, Chennai presents an ongoing show titled, ‘The Written Word’. The show features works by a group of artists, established as well as upcoming, whose works have been inspired by the ‘word’. Be it Biblical verses, poetry, A-for apple alphabet charts, stories from the epics and temple architecture, destinations etched on bus tickets.
In each of these works, the written word is an integral part of the compositions, making the works specific and unique.
The globe trotter’s world
|( A work by Vera de Jong)|
Art world and Sarala’s Art centre, Chennai present a solo show of works by Canadian artist Vera de Jong. Vera’s association with India, specifically Kodaikanal has been since 2007 and since then she has worked out of her studio. Her exhibition displays the abstract works of the self taught artist, and her growth and influences she has imbibed and incorporated in her delicate meditative canvases.
There are 23 works on display and four 4-panel works, three 3 panel works and one 2 panel work. The palette she chooses is a blend of her oriental roots and the colours she has experienced all through her journey. Her work portrays the numerous cities and changes in landscapes she has seen, over the years, from barren lands to urban jungles, from mountains to depths.
Nature manifests in tree rings incorporated from some distant memory, and her world moves from microcosmic to macrocosmic enchanting the viewer. The world in a nutshell looks radiant and glowing with an energy of her experiences. This globe trotter records every little detail in her canvases.
The show is on view till the 20th August 2013.
Licence to express
|( A work from the show)|
Epicentre Gallery, Gurgaon hosts a group show titled, ‘Licence’ in collaboration with Gallery Sree Arts and Jewels. There are ten artists participating in this group show and the works are a riot of colours, expressions, themes, mediums and styles. The show is called so, to focus on the freedom of expression and the freedom for the artists to express according to their own desire. the show is curated by Jitendra Padam Jain and assisted by Annkush B Sharma.
The works of Sita Rattan, Anjul Johri, Rajani Pothineni, Surbhi Rathi, Shan P Singh, Ruchi Mansaa, Kirti Raj, Rashim Gupta and few others are on display.
The show will be on view from the 16th August to 18th August 2013.
The Magic Flute
Pearl Art Gallery, New Delhi presents a solo show of eminent artist Kishore Roy. The show titled, ‘ The Magic Flute: Telling Untelling Stories’. The artist Kishore Roy is an ardent devotee of the Lord Krishna and most of his canvases are more a tribute and prayer to the deity than just an art work.
(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)