Expressions... of our times!!! (Art Beyond Mart)

27th-May-2009 till 31st-May-2009

Visual Arts Gallery India Habitat Centre Lodhi Road New Delhi – 110 003

In the October, 1944, when Europe tied in the Second World War, was freshly entering into a major phase of economic depression, TS Eliot was giving his presidential lecture at the Virgil Society of London. In his speech Eliot never spoke of economic hardships or the Great War, but only obliquely mentioned to “the accident of the present time”. To Eliot, war and depression were nothing but accidents of a time. Eliot was fifty six then and had passed away a few years later without any regret for his time. But his stoicism continues to remain a trademark of artists even to this date.

Today when the world economy is in shambles and we are entering the third quarter of what is now been established as a recession, there is one community that continues to remain undeterred: the community of artists. The past one year had not been very good to them. The first half of this year also remained Luke warm. Yet the best of India’s artists have not been found complaining. Rather many have simply entered a cocoon to remain immersed in their art in these hard times, only to come out occasionally and take stock of the world.

This is one such occasion. After a long time, 15 of Indian Art’s best names have come out to hold a show of their latest works in New Delhi. Galerie Art Eterne, the sublime and the ever encouraging patron of New Delhi’s avant-garde has been a key figure in bringing these myriad artists to a common platform. But the effort was worth undertaking; worth not only for Galerie Art Eterne, but also for all these artists and the art lovers of India’s capital who had been craving for a show like this for the past one and a half year.

One unique feature of this show is that Galerie Art Eterne had given full freedom to all the artists to put up whatever the artists felt like. This encouraged the artists to put forward rare experimentative works which are seldom shown in public shows as well as works of established styles.

Sanjay Bhattacharya for example has submitted one of his signature style works on canvas but along side that the viewer would also be seeing three paper works drawn in different styles, hitherto not seen.

P Shivani Bharadwaj has submitted two works with images of empty chairs, drawn in fast impasto style, reminding one of her immense control over the brush. Though still-life in features, they give a rare essence of abstraction also. Similarly Mohan Singh’s paintings show the strength of lines as his youth icons float on the canvases smiling and mocking the viewers.

Sudip Roy has submitted one work from his famous Charulata series, but alongside, one can also see his experimentation in the realm of abstracts. Ajay Jharotia has submitted three works which are though primarily figurative, but show distortions akin to cubist art. Cerebral and complex, these works are markedly different from his previous ones.

Devajyoti Ray has submitted four of his usual signature style of works, pseudo-realist in genre. But what is unexpected here is that for the first time the viewers would get a glimpse of his latest series made in tribute to Bridget Riley, once his primary source of inspiration. For inspiration, Krishnendu Porel however never had to cross the seven seas. His inspiration comes from his city of childhood which intermingles in his work presented in a semi-cubist format.

Cubism is also the format chosen by veteran artist Niren Sengupta, who is the oldest in the group. But instead of getting a distortion of faces as is normally the end result of cubist works, Sengupta’s works show coherence and flush of colours. The other veteran artist in the show is Jai Jharotia. Slow in pace and mild in rhythm, different from the youngsters in the show, Jharotia’s works present an attempt to give voice to the living world of flora and fauna. One wonders if Jharotia has only tried to provide eloquence to his animals, or remind us to understand the sublimal eloquence already existing in the nature.

Laxman Aley has moved a lot from his earlier styles which were commercially very successful. The new style looks more detailed, more elaborate. Detailing is also a feature of Manoj Nayak’s works. In his works, men and women of ordinary backgrounds involved in everyday affairs come out in strong lines and bold colours.

Anand Goswami has submitted four works that give the impression old Indian temple paintings. Colours in droplets, sometimes covered by other layers make these paintings look like excavated murals. Like him, Rupak Goswami’s main theme also happens to be Indian mythology, but here the works are bolder and brighter. Contrasting colours and good drawing form the basis of these visually beautiful works.

Most of the artists who have exhibited their works in the show cannot be classified as either pure realist or pure abstractionist, apart from two: Vijender Sharma and Raushanallah Y. The former has submitted two works of almost photographic precision. Raushanallah on the other hand has submitted his signature style of pure abstracts rolling and rocking in waves of colours.

The coming together of such established and emerging names of the India’s versatile art world under the roof of Galerie Art Eterne at a time like this is definitely going to bring back the exuberance that was once a part of the our regular art scene is a momentous matter. One can only wonder at the expressions of our times.

A R Raju


List of Participating Artists

Anand Goswami
Devajyoti Ray
Jai Zharotia
Krishnendu Porel
Laxman Aelay
Manoj Nayak
Mohan Singh
Niren Sen Gupta
P Shivani Bharadwaj
Raushanallah Y
Rupak Goswami
Sanjay Bhattacharya
Sudip Roy
Vijender Sharma