Corporeal splendour

Art review

Corporeal splendour

Quite successful also was the proximity of sumptuous and graceful craft objects, including antique and exotic ones as well as current fashion designs, to often significant works of modern and contemporary art.

Whereas these mutually enhancing connections did come through, the curator unnecessarily added too many related aspects, thus crowding the space and blurring some of the intended content, while certain parts of the display seemed a bit forced or random.

On the whole, one responded best to the rarely seen instances of traditional –sculptures-dolls from south India that with a rough-delicate exuberance, oscillated between the divine and human in their blend of rich intricacy and voluptuousness, reverberating in the sensuous body-armours of bronze.

The ample, bejewelled nudes of F N Souza and Rekha Rodwittiys’s gently stylised unadorned and unclothed women complemented those finely. The profusion of ornate saris and kimonos echoed in the faint textile patterns over Nilima Sheikh’s landscape paintings and in the abstracts by John Tun Sein.

If the seeds in Benitha Peciyal’s reliefs did evoke generative feminine carnality, the presence of fashionable sunglasses did not really establish a link with the seductive decorativeness of Anjali Srinivasan’s glass sculptures.

The love ritual importance of the colour red could not be intuited as well, since the show primarily looked multi-hue bright. Neither could the engagement with all the senses, since some were merely indicated without fleshing out their impact. However appealing the display often was, one found it a very disrespectful mistake that it did not mention the artists’ names and their works’ titles.

A rather different premise lay behind Dipti Desai’s exhibition at 1Shanthiroad Studio/Gallery (November 4 to 11). Called “What I Owe”, it wished to pay homage to the constant effort of many anonymous labourers who make sure that the lush greenery of Lal Bagh remains so for us to enjoy.

The young local photojournalist took an unassumingly sincere way that indeed appeared to reflect the character of her profession. Simple and decent, mostly not exceptional but sporadically expressive, Desai’s photographic essay about the gardeners of the park, moving between an objective look and a personal note, alternated and sometimes merged the elements of documentation and more form-dependent evocativeness.

On the one hand then, there were several portraits of Lal Bagh workers unpretentious in their facing the direct camera and the artist’s empathy, otherwise captured during their steady business. The effect here, similarly to the general park scenes and the close-ups of foliage with lit up, colourful plants in the foregrouns, may have been quiet and honest, if not probing and slightly pedestrian.

On the other hand, a temptation for aesthetic and atmospheric evocativeness could result in not very original, sensitive nevertheless, images, like those with a twilight tree branch mirrored in water or the masses of little flowers against tree leaves conjuring a nearly monochromatic, graphic vibrancy.

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