I was really pleased to visit a collective studio space recently that had decided to have an informal viewing of their art works, so as to invite critique and discourse from artist friends and colleagues into their studio. This was not as a prelude to any formal exhibition, and the idea is to have these presentations on a regular basis. One of the young artists of this studio, Bhrigu Kumar Sharma articulated that this idea resulted from a need to have conversations occur, rambling or otherwise, to "knock at the door" of his creativity with questions that he may not be able to ask of himself.
When I visited the studio, it was filled with the intangible yet palpable spirit of dreams, hopes, wonderful fiestiness, youth and innocence and a healthy pinch of arrogance, as well as all the other survival skills young artists carry in their imaginary back-packs for this long haul to climb the ladder of success. The open studio was also interspersed with hints of really special ideas seen in the works; sometimes half formulated and somewhere quietly demanding of attention; and also the delight of struggle where intentions are valiant but the essential idea gets aborted like a still born baby, bringing with it both pain and frustration.
I carried away with me a feeling of great joy that day because after a long time I was seeing in Baroda the potential to create alternative interactive spaces of engagement, that were intimate in nature, and were about being connected to each other not through the agenda of curators, but from the spirit of the artists own understanding of the value of such sharing with each other.
When I travel abroad I gravitate to those rooms in the museums that have works by artists that invite you to participate. Design exhibitions fascinate me for this reason, and a few years ago I spent an afternoon in an exhibition in Brazil that I chanced upon, and was completely mesmerised by the simple act of arranging geometric shapes to transform into animal and human forms through my intervention with it.
I am off to spend eight days with a group of my friends in Ahmedabad, to do a ceramic workshop. Khanjan Dalal has lovingly put this together from my desire to play in the shadows of my old friends creativity and fumble together with them to learn once again, hopefully where in the intimacy of one another's company, work is born from the nuances shared through solitude, verbosity, fun and experience. Stepping outside of our comfort zones can only fuel us to be more demanding of ourselves, so though slightly trepidatious I am all charged up and ready for action!