Art Talk

Layered rifts in reality

Crimson should be congratulated for opening up to ambitious, probing regions of contemporary art. Its current exhibition “in focus” (July 1 to 25) brings together six mostly young artists who often work with photography in a way that both admits the actual and handles it so as to uncover its underlying condition.

They either take direct shots from the immediate, the choice of the details becoming meaningful, or, more frequently, collage photographic images to let them yield the artists' interpretation. Whether they were selected for this reason or not, the display as a whole suggests a phenomenon essential to our world - a persistence of layered realities that contradict and clash as well as partly resolve in a randomness which has its own logic.
Along the direct line, with a simple profundity, Shankar Natarjan's profile portraits of a male and female artist let one sense a possibility of similarity or agreement but pregnant with the opposite and with fluid uncertainty. Preeti Sood looks closely at walls with peeling posters, as their textures and residues of political signage or old paintings yield a feel of history and memory dissolving yet surviving and reshaping in the magma of life's changes. Vivek Vilasini shoots European junkyards as amusement park museums of symbols and knick-knacks of discarded ideologies where communist belligerence sides with capitalist one and monuments to eastern spirituality cohabit with those proclaiming American glory and personal grandeur. By assembling photograph fragments, the other artists enhance insights into the ethos of the chaotic but oriented processes within reality. Rachel Immanuel with irony and empathy multiples and enmeshes geometric accents of architecture and entanglements of electrical cables to evoke a powerful, largely violent web that connects and conflicts.

Gigi Scaria's images document his sculptural works about city existence that unify the form of houses with that of the electrical pole and which are placed against ordinary urban vistas. The impact this generates is of contemplation over gravity and disquiet. A desire for serenity and meditative immersion in nature comes through in Atul Bhalla's images of trees by a pond. The multi-part format with reflection and repeating slight shifts in the same sight are a conscious, urban strategy of the imagination which confesses the impossibility of traditional, direct viewing, nevertheless, serves here a new return to the ever sustaining foundation.

Homage to Tibet

The “Rewa” event which paid homage to the fifty years of Tibet in exile had two contemporary art works along with the talks, music, books, poetry, films a tangka and a mandala (1Shanthi Raod Studio/Gallery, June 26 to 28). These two works, unsigned in regard to the anonymity of the traditional Tibetan artists, gracefully and with restraint made a symbolic gesture of acceptance. Shanthamani M had a series of white boxes under glass with letters embossed in white paper quoting fragments of Tibetans' memories. The minimalist aesthetic enhanced the purity and preciousness of intent and content.

Suresh Jayaram's installation contrasted suitably with the richness of its colours and form alluding directly to Tibetan prayer drums on a wooden frame stand. Covered by photographic collages from around Tibetan life, they rotated under the spectators' hands visualising and directing their empathy and wishes.

Artists of their own

Despite the sign from Crimson there are few galleries in the City that welcome unconventional, not so saleable art, which has led to the already several years old Bangalore phenomenon of artists' own initiatives not rarely addressing public spaces and familiar since the time of “Sthanapuranagalu” and from the continuing efforts of Bar1 and 1Shanthi Road Studio/Gallery. The latest contribution - Samuha was started from artists' resources and conceived half-way between temporary event and long-term project. Its initiator and moving spirit is Suresh Kumar G whose endeavours span sculpture, multimedia installation, site-specific work often undertaken in his village, video and performance.

Located in a rented and rearranged space at the ADA Rangamandira (2nd floor, JC Road, opposite Town Hall), it will be available to member artists to work and regularly exhibit in. The aim is also to draw ordinary people from other walks of life, even enter normal, busy areas in the neighbourhood. Samuha was inaugurated on June 22, a part of the event being Suresh Kumar's ‘art intervention and performance’ which symbolically as well as factually represented his role and intentions. As photographs on the wall captured moments from transforming the rooms into a display hall, the artist, with humour and seriousness, in a literal and metaphoric manner, assumed the personality of Handyman and roamed around the friendly crowd with his little daughter. Dressed in an orange uniform of a municipal worker and a helmet, he was the practical facilitator behind Samuha paying his respect to the anonymous menial help who, hardly acknowledged, enables the comfort of the more fortunate. He is to assume other such garbs during the coming months, while his wearing a worker's uniform was preceded by a classical dance costume which underscore the wish to connect art with grass-root existence.

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