Bold energy

Art Talk


Responding to the organiser’s own enthusiasm and compulsive wish to stimulate others, the students revealed plenty of energy, courage and involvement in trying to combine regular art mediums with unconventional ones while reacting to views, issues and phenomena in the immediate reality filtered through intimate sensibilities and reflection. One was glad that they largely avoided not only academic stereotypes but even pure aesthetising, instead going in for the raw and the intensely experienced actual. Naturally, there was some dependence on existing idioms or excessive excitement with new ways, some looseness or insufficient fleshing out of imagery and ideas. Still, one admired the bold immediacy and the authenticity of their engagement, while often the intended impact was indeed achieved.

Even the relatively regular painters strove for complex, hidden intuitions, Dhanya P K drawing sensual moods of domestic, organic and industrial objects and Chandrakala analysing-evoking slightly design-based rhythms of brick shadows amid broader, abstracted spaces and structures.

Ashwini N K in a rough-sensitive way captured ambiguities between feminine and canine bodies, the format and placing of her small works interacting with the wall architecture. In his paintings and a sketched transparent cube Sharath Kumar tangibly conjured a link between the chaotic pressures in art and surroundings, as Rakshit K looked for echoes of painted reality in its coarse sound.

Anil Chandran P let one face the changing, multicultural elements of the present in his mobile costume structure, as Sindhura D M with graceful humour hinted at the mysteries of gifts and mundane bags. One could appreciate Sujan Ghosh’s curious-respectful-amusing-desiring probe and serious play with the ultra feminine attribute of sanitary pads over an abundance of forms from inflated sculpture to shrine-like installation to collages and to somewhat too pleasant painting.

Experiencing embodied art
The tableau vivante based on the famous Mysore painting “Girija Kalyana” (Samuha at The Government Science Collage, October 23), which followed a workshop for CKP students conducted by the acknowledged Swiss performance artist Pascale Grau, was an unusual here and truly enriching event. It resulted from an active interaction process, with a bridging involvement of Smitha Cariappa, between the European artist desiring to understand another culture that persists but metamorphoses and the students addressing their tradition and confronting it with the present world, that tradition both being considered canonic and immutable as well as personally interpreted and fluid.
For Grau it was a continuation of her interest in interpreted enactment of paintings in different countries, while the young aspirants here could tangibly and emotively connect with the idea through their familiarity with the staged, static ritual and aesthetic of Indian weddings. Against a live banana tree and a vast backdrop of ornately painted arches and divinities showering petals amid clouds, a tiger skin-clad Shiva accepted his demurely splendid and much bejewelled bride, a literal string of white milk being poured into the Nandi bull’s mouth by her turbaned and black suited father.

The profusion of the exuberant and majestic, flower-studded ceremony attended by gods and mythical heroes was contrasted, reflected or complemented too, in the omnipresence of rubbish and poverty, as the scene replaced the fierce Bhairava with a dark blue-limbed rag picker boy, and the verge characters of Ravana and a contemporary rustic woman epitomised the ambiguity of the benign and the evil. The costumes, gestures and poses adequately brought out solemnity, grandeur and fascination with opulence in a rite that participates in an ever repeated divine paradigm on the human plane. Its contemporary reception included both joyous gravity blended with intimate pleasure and some mischievous humour seen, for instance, in Nandi turning into a cuddly toy and some of Ravana’s ten heads made in China wearing surgical masks. It also responded to the socially sanctioned cruelty of extreme riches that keep the poor at the bottom. In fact, the best and most moving in a non-sentimental way was the rag picking part.
The audience having to observe the motionless but live tableau for half hour could gradually experience the sight along with the perception of it, through direct, corporeal sensation, emotively and in thought going over the diverse yet merging associations that were triggered by it. One may have argued about certain imperfections and understated aspects, the whole, nonetheless, was powerful and precious enabling cathartic intuitions in front of tradition and the current reality.

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