Art Talk

Art Talk

The exhibition consists of works done by him in 1996 with the idea to offer not only images of the time but a holistic representation of Polke’s concerns that return in ever changing yet also continuing elements.

The very uniformity of size and technique underscore the richness of issues and the profundity of their observation that reveals a multi-layered and mutually influential pervasiveness of contradictory phenomena, substances and sensations that build as well as obscure reality, its understanding and its aesthetic expression. In fact, Polke seems to be focussing simultaneously on probing the behaviour of immediate actuality along with its overt and hidden purposes and on its perception which comprises commonplace ones, objectively analytical, art-historical, socio-political ones, ones related to the passage of time and to personal or intimately felt instinctual forces on a vast plane of life.

Throughout, there recurs a dual process of firm structuring in clarity, restriction or sometimes cruelty and of spontaneous surging of things unconscious, unbridled and vivacious. With a simplicity that is potent in uncovering complex aspects of things and broad processes, Polke uses familiar daily motifs only to hint at their confusing, clouding appearance. His images and especially titles resort to ambiguity, punning and playful absurdity in order to destabilise ingrained, immunised ways of looking and stimulate questioning, in the end bringing in a poetic logic.

As if in a Pop Art manner, he culls his shapes from ordinary experience, like newspaper photographs and advertising, however, rendering them through labour intensive hand painting and showing them so that they betray dynamics vital to life in the shaping and mutating. A normal scene with a strolling family or a bunny playmate, etc. is mostly formed by grids of enlarged raster dots of media reproductions.

The ordinarily mechanical dots are painted and include a number of errors resulting in paint spills, hence they convey a clash between the imposed, conventional sight intended to make readers into passive, thoughtless consumers and the unrestrained exuberance of living. The latter impact enhances over the areas where the artist consciously steers as well as goads expansive pigment to flow on its own. In such instances of merely apparent abstraction an abundant and permeable gamut of allusions becomes generated, from comparing and linking scientific examination to inherent powers of the organic growth to musing about the character of modern art and contemporary aesthetic and conceptual methods and to juxtaposing different historical periods to notice their common threads.

1Shanthi Road events
The recent weeks brought a number of project displays to 1Shanthi Road Studio/Gallery. Most of those were characterised by interesting concepts, an often genuine address to the reality of the place and the intention to respectfully collaborate with local craftsmen and ordinary people but somewhat indulgently light in their execution. Hence, although expecting to evince an engaged response from the audience, they tended to be largely spent on the gesture. “Imitation of Life” by Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley of Australia (December 23) had a traditional Indian sari and langoti fabrics printed in military camouflage patterns and multinational logos. Draped on a mannequin and iron rod structures, they wished to allude to labour, the landscape of construction and the naxalite movement gainst globalisation which, however, came through a little too much in terms of elegant design.

The video film “Journey with the river Cauvery” by Bhavani G S, simultaneously shown there, was premised on the nice idea to make the artist’s walking along the river reverberate of its flow through natural sceneries, human activities and sacred places, through beauty and trash, countryside and urban settlements. Its form, containing some fine shots, did not quite resolve its documentary and evocative elements.

Madhu D (December 28,29) was disturbed by the disarray and destruction caused in Bangalore by the metro construction. His photographic collages in “City at Siege” with single massive pillars mounted by people, buildings, gods and trees shot from below did exude a disquieting hybrid state. The funeral procession for a tortured tree branch, yet, did not carry enough gravity. Prantik Chattopadhyay’s “Tooth Tales” (December 5 to 7) with Channapatna artisans conjured fantastic insects made of colourfully painted wood, accompanied by steels plates and broken toothbrushes. Playfully suggesting the childhood myth about worms drilling dirty teeth, it stimulated the toy mood to teach cleanliness while eating. The creatures were very imaginative but not more than that.

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