Masterstrokes on display

Pitch perfect
Last Updated 09 August 2015, 18:39 IST

It’s a tribute that is going to leave many stumped. ‘Deconstructed Innings — A Tribute to India's Greatest Sporting Icon Sachin Tendulkar’, conceptualised by Kiran Desai and co-curated by Veeranganakumari Solanki, is being held at National Gallery of Modern Art, Palace Road, Manikyavelu Mansion, in collaboration with TENART.

The exhibition traces the life of Sachin Tendulkar, spanning across numerous milestones throughout his career. It blurs the lines of sport and art as it portrays his journey through multidisciplinary works such as texts, imagery, visuals, public installations and audio clips. It is a tribute to his masterstrokes as his batting itself was art in motion, once he chiseled his bat, like a brush, into the pitch, like the canvas.

The exhibition opens with a series of 10 bats by the 10 artists who have collaborated to put up this show. It comprises artworks which depict Sachin’s life on and off the field.

Jagannath Panda’s work highlights memories which celebrate his heroism. It’s a coded sequence of numbers borrowed from Sachin’s match-scores which break at regular intervals and signify the infinity of time. Abstract layers of fabric over canvas represent the audience. However, on stepping back, one sees Sachin’s image emerging.

GR Iranna’s work celebrates his enigma with his painting and sculpture. 32 fielders, from cricket players to common men, surround Sachin who want him out but in vain. Riyas Khomu’s installation celebrates his achievements through a 100 cast pairs of hands in different positions which symbolise how he holds his bat. Remen Chopra’s installation, ‘City of Dreams’, captures Sachin’s feat of a 100 centuries graphically. The map is layered over Mumbai with images of him and the Wankhede Stadium.

A few works take one back to his childhood. Sunil Gawde’s ‘Pause’, which is a sculptural video installation, depicts the elements of ‘gully cricket’ that are embedded in the windows of a sculptural re-creation of a building. The building is in the housing colony where Sachin grew up. The sound of a shattered glass and a string of animated voices is heard.

The art represents various communities of Mumbai, the reaction to the damage, the thrills and spills of gully cricket and the lack of open spaces. Shreyas celebrates ‘gully cricket’ through a series of diagrammatic, scientific and representative drawings that comprise the vocabulary of ‘gully cricket’ which Sachin used as a child. The drawings are minimal but highlight puns and introduce the elitist game to one that masses identify with today.

One can see references beyond a sport which will gather in the collective memory of the public as well. Triclochan Anand’s work highlights Sachin’s most prized element, ‘The Treasure Box’, which comprises 13 one rupee coins. They were given to him by his coach and are his most valuable trophies. Vibha’s work, ‘Reflection’, is a collection of 10 etched brass plates which map his career through moments in his personal life. 

The works of Manjunath Kamath and Hema Upadhyay represent hero worship and fan culture.

‘Arrival of a Cricket God’ by Manjunath is a painting with images from history and popular culture. It has Sachin with a halo as the centrepiece. The image is depicted as ‘God’, a term which most fans identify him with.

Hema’s work is a two-panel work that depicts the wings of the entrance of a stadium. It is where the viewer experiences Sachin walking to the pitch from various angles.

Her work is an installation of lenticular-motion prints of 11 animated expressions of the artist, sequentially repeated with silhouettes of Sachin in the foreground.

His memorable farewell speech layered against the din of the stadium is interspersed with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s composition  playing in the background. The show is on till September 7.

(Published 09 August 2015, 14:40 IST)

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