17 Sep 2014

Art News: Multiple Visages - Narratives of Existence


Multiple Visages: Narratives of Existence

In the depth of my soul there is
A wordless song - a song that lives
In the seed of my heart
- Khalil Gibran

A million slivers of life exist around us - in the numerous stories that await discovery.  Stories of joy, celebration, sorrow and grief. Of ordinary people and their daily lives. Stories that resonate and stay with us and which alter our reality as we reflect and assimilate. Reinvented and retold, these emerge as wordless songs on canvas narrating multiple visages of life, and existence. Bharati Sagar and Mridul Chandra draw inspiration from everyday life and capture these vignettes in their paintings. 

Bharati Sagar learnt Commercial Art by correspondence from the British Institute, Mumbai at the tender age of 13 and then studied fine arts at The Fine Arts and Archicture College, Hydrabad. She also learnt Ceramics at The Lalit Kala Academy –Kolkata. She is well versed in landscape painting especially seascapes, has dabbled in
abstract art though she is better known for her sensitive portrayal of women and children.
Bharati has had solo shows and participated in several group shows in metros in India and abroad for more than 3 decades. Her most recent shows were in New York - 2012 and 2014 at a group show, where two of her works were projected on the buildings around Time Square-NY. In 2013, 10 of her paintings were projected on big screens at a gallery in Miami. 

Mridul Chandra graduated from the JJ School Of Art (Mumbai) in 1978. She worked with the Sharat Das Consortium (architects for Indraprastha Stadium, Delhi Asiad 1982) and designed furniture and interiors for the stadium. She pursued graphics for a while, before getting into fine arts on a full time basis and has taught I.B. Art to the students of Canadian International School, Bangalore.
She derives inspiration for her works from travel, allowing her to juxtapose various scenes in a figurative format with textured backgrounds. The scenes narrate the reality of what she observes during her travels: migrant worker, laundry man, chai shop, teeming cities and towns – the pageant of the human being in an urban context, thus communicating her insights. Portraiture is her favourite medium and her compositions have a sense of celebration and renewal. 

Nalini Malaviya is a Bangalore based art consultant, writer and blogger. She has been writing for the media since 2003, and has been an art columnist for Financial Times (Delhi and Bangalore) and Bangalore Mirror. She has contributed to Times of India, Femina and several other publications including art magazines and catalogs. An occasional fiction writer, Nalini has published short stories as part of various anthologies. She also curates shows and conducts workshops for artists. 
Nalini runs www.artsceneindia.com, a popular blog cum Ezine featuring art news, events and articles. The website functions as an artist resource and also promotes artists. Currently, she is working on creating an eBook from her published articles.


10 Sep 2014

Art News: Art for Social Change

Bangalore based artist P. Mahesh Kumar is participating in ArtPrize, an international art competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan to be held between Sep 24 - Oct 12, 2014. His painting titled A Girl's Freedom will be exhibited at Fountain Street Church - one of the top 5 venues to host the ArtPrize event under the theme "Art to Change the World: Inspiring Social Justice”. Artworks ‘will be judged by their ability to communicate human rights issues and on the quality of artistic expression’.
A Girl's Freedom by P. Mahesh Kumar for ArtPrize, Art Scene India, Image courtesy artist
ArtPrize is described as an ‘unorthodox, highly disruptive, and undeniably intriguing to the art world and the public alike’. According to the ArtPrize website, ‘For 19 days, three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, become an open playing field where anyone can find a voice in the conversation about what is art and why it matters. Art from around the world pops up in every inch of downtown, and it’s all free and open to the public’.

The event is not curated and is open to all artists of any background from anywhere in the world. Involving huge prize money and multiple prizes, the method of choosing the prize winner has been compared to the popular reality show American Idol.

Mahesh Kumar’s painting focuses on gender related issues and deals with social evils such as female infanticide, domestic violence and crimes against women. The artwork is an attempt to portray hopes and aspirations of millions of Indian women and to draw attention to multiple challenges faced by them in their daily life. The painting raises a highly relevant issue and we hope the effort finds appreciation with the audience at the ArtPrize exhibition.

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8 Sep 2014

Liu Bolin Brings 'Hiding in the City' to Bangalore

Liu Bolin's installation at Art Bengaluru, Art Scene India, Image Nalini MalaviyaI met artist Liu Bolin from China in the parking lot of UB city, Bangalore as he wrapped up the photo shoot involving auto drivers. Bolin widely known as ‘The Invisible Man’ thanks to the popularity of his series ‘Hiding in the City’ was in Bangalore recently to participate in ‘Art Bengaluru 2014’.

One of his works, an installation from the Charger Series made out of mobile charges was exhibited as part of the 10-day event. Human forms appear to be suspended from the wall with innumerable wires dangling from them. Bolin's artwork is a comment on the materialist culture that now pervades every society, feeding an unending well of desire. It is making the human race more machine like, as we trade humane qualities for inanimate objects. During the inaugural evening of Art Bengaluru, Bolin also performed and ‘disappeared’ into a bookshelf, even as the people watched!
‘In 2006 Liu Bolin, a prominent Chinese contemporary artist inspired by the Chinese government’s demolition of the Suo Jia Cun Artist Village in Beijing camouflaged himself in the series of photographs, Hiding in the City by painting himself as part of the urban landscape. Bolin has become famous as the invisible man after he decided to use his art as a means of silent protest. Using his own body to paint himself and merge into various urban settings in Beijing, Bolin attempts to comment on the fragile status of artists and their living conditions’(excerpted from Protest Art in China by Nalini S Malaviya, Art Etc.)

Bolin seemed to have enjoyed his first visit to India and found a lot of similarities between the people here and in China. During his brief stay in Bangalore, Bolin continued to work with the idea of camouflage to highlight social issues and ‘imbalances’ peculiar to the societal and cultural landscape of India and particularly Bangalore. As an extension of ‘Hiding in the City’, Bolin worked with slum dwellers, school children and auto drivers to underline problems specific to each of these groups. For instance, the blue coloured canvas tents of the slums in Marathahalli stand conspicuous against high-rise buildings and highlight the enormous disparity between the rich and poor. According to Bolin, “The purpose of this shoot was to blend these people into their background, at the same time emphasizing their presence by making them the subject of the work. The idea was to draw attention to them and give a wake up call to the more privileged members of society to come forward to do their bit to help give these people a better future.”
Liu Bolin Brings 'Hiding in the City' to Bangalore, Art Scene India, Image courtesy PR Art Bengaluru
Liu Bolin Brings 'Hiding in the City' to Bangalore, Art Scene India, Image courtesy PR Art Bengaluru
In his other photoshoot with children, Bolin worked with an important and highly relevant issue that has assumed epidemic proportions in India - crimes against women and children. Performed in a playground, a single girl child was camouflaged as she disappeared into the background to become invisible, while other children around her continued to play and enjoy their activities. The world around her went on with its routine, oblivious to her and her plight - which unfortunately is the reality today! In his  last photoshoot, Bolin created an artwork with 10 auto drivers - an attempt to highlight ‘perpetual traffic issues and subsequent smoke and pollution inflicting the city’. Incidentally, Bangalore is amongst the most polluted mega cities in the world!
Liu Bolin Brings 'Hiding in the City' to Bangalore, Art Scene India, Image courtesy PR Art Bengaluru
It was great to meet Bolin and even though communication was a little stilted (through a translator), it was heartening to see that he had managed to capture the pulse of Bangalore in his artworks. He mentioned that although there was initial resistance from participants to get painted and be a part of his performance art, the idea did grow on them and they were eventually quite enthusiastic to become the living artworks!

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5 Sep 2014

Art News: Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014

Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 is less than 100 Days Away

Art News: Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014Kochi is gearing up to host the second edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale, as the organisers of the 108-day
mega art event starting on December 12 are busy with the preparations for the much-acclaimed mega art festival that is slated to conclude on March 29, 2015.

Jitish Kallat, the curator and artistic director for the biennale being organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF), said the second edition would feature around 85 artists from over 28 countries. Some of the key artists have already made site visits, and they include Franceso Clemente, Sir Anish Kapoor, Christian Waldvogel, K G Subramanyan, Sudhir Patwardhan, Ghulammohammed Sheikh and Namboodiri, among others.

Kallat said it was a “rewarding moment” for him when conversations with artist-colleagues, concretize into projects on the ground in Kochi. “The embryonic form of the project is taking shape,” he noted. “The exhibition brings together art-works that picture versions of the world referencing history, geography, astronomy, time and myth, interlacing the terrestrial with the celestial.” Kallat had been engaged in a year-long research trip to select the artists for the much-awaited second edition.

KBF president Bose Krishnamachari said the foundation has retained most of the venues from last time. “But we will have a few additional venues and projects in a few public spaces. And we are looking forward to an engaging project put up by Kallat,” he added.

KBF has been organising several talks and cultural programmes as a run-up to the Biennale. Riyas Komu, Director of Programmes, said the KBF has always been mindful of the larger participation of the people to engage them with contemporary art. “To amplify it this time, we will be having several Programmes including the Student’s Biennale, Children’s Biennale, Artists’ Cinema project and various Cultural Programmes that will run parallel to the Biennale,” he added.

*Excerpts from Press Release '100 Days Away, Biennale 2014 Braces Up For Bigger Success'

1 Sep 2014

Art in Interiors: Art With Paper

 Paper art, particularly installations made of paper give a contemporary twist to interiors 

Red paper pulp installation by artist Ravikumar Kashi, Art Scene India, Image courtesy artist
'A thousand desires' - Ravikumar Kashi
Paper has a fragile and ethereal quality about it that tends to be equated with transience. However it can be a surprisingly durable medium, and has been extremely popular with artists for drawings and paintings. It has also found multiple uses in design and craft due to its versatility and ease of availability. Origami, quilling, quilting and moulding are some of the techniques which are customarily used to create art with paper.

Apart from its traditional usage, paper is now increasingly manipulated by contemporary artists to produce artworks which are displayed in galleries and at international events – sometimes to even convey a socially relevant message. For instance, French artist Paulo Grangeon  has created 1,600 little papier mâché pandas to raise awareness about the dwindling population of the pandas.
1,600 pandas by artist Paulo Grangeon  
Book art made of paper pulp by artist Ravikumar Kashi, Art Scene India, Image courtesy artistA combination of different types of paper and techniques has been put to creative use to come up with extraordinary artworks made entirely out of paper. Book art, which involves transforming the pages of an old book into amazing artworks, while artworks made out of paper pulp to resemble books can be equally fascinating. Elaborately detailed masks, life size sculptures and abstract installations are a few other options. As an installation, the transformation of paper has immense possibilities and can easily fit in any kind of décor in both residential and corporate spaces. Traditional forms such as animals and birds and decorative artifacts such as chandeliers are now given a contemporary touch to create stunning artworks.
Book art made of paper pulp by artist Ravikumar Kashi, Art Scene India, Image courtesy artist 
When selecting paper art, keep in mind that scale plays a vital role and the larger the artwork the greater the impact. This is particularly true for installations which are either suspended from the ceiling or take up an entire wall. In such a case, a single artwork can be the highlight of the space, especially when combined with skilful lighting and other architectural features.

The possibilities are endless and the great thing about paper art is that it can be either minimal or intricate, and complement any form of decor.

This article was published in The Times of India - The Address yesterday. 
Images courtesy Ravikumar Kashi.

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