Saturday, September 13, 2008

Trip to Jehangir Art Gallery

It is always fun to go to an art gallery. It is an enjoyable and enriching experience. I have always been interested in the arts. Seen it in books and heard it in lectures and also seen it in galleries before. I remember when Picassos traveling exhibition came to India it was a thrilling experience. Art is not what it looks like in books. It is a rare joy to see Picasso’s bull, the goat, the childlike paintings he did when he was old and the prints of Minotaur.
After that for days and days I wanted to be an artist. My other great love in art has been Michelangelo, in fact he is probably the reason I am at IDC today.

So getting back to the point a trip to a gallery is a learning experience like everything else- but sometimes and to so many people there is no clarity so as to what that learning could be. This trip connects in my head to the presentation on contemporary artists that we gave- most of this artist’s work was displayed in the gallery. These guys are the last school of artists in my memory. Art in Bombay is also quite different from the art in Delhi. It reflects in the centers of excellence and the conversation around it. In Delhi art and thought revolves around IIC and Habitat center also in the incredible Connaught
Place we will find small galleries. The artists are somewhat constant too. Where as in Bombay there is a different kind of art scene. If I were to crudely distinguish Bombay is still old style but dwells deeply on concept and society-with the media industry booming all that is new in art is applied there.

Art has transformed into advertising media and design which does not go on to say that there is no potential for art itself. At Jehangir what I saw was more a patronage to the old stalwarts. Though it would be lovely to also expose us to the new art which has no rules. Where as Delhi is more commercial art we would see everything from chemical processes to simulate desert landscapes to A. Ramachandran’s colorful forms of Indian villages and cast bronzes, vivid paintings of Manjit Bawa and the ceramics of Daroz. Lifestyle designers in Delhi also tend to bend towards art. Art is no longer a canvas it has exploded into space, and media it has now evolved into communication strategies. And we can see this only in retrospect.

As nobody knows what is happening in the world today. These are desperate times for recorded history. The explosion of knowledge and the quest to define the state of being has only begun. But to me Jehangir was about restarting this discourse of which we seem to lose touch from time to time. And it is not possible to record all that one felt and where the mind goes but art makes more sense when you visit a gallery.

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