I was invited to visit a young artist's studio yesterday and came back with a heavy heart. The tragedy today amongst many young artists in Baroda, and in particular those who paint, is that they are insulating themselves from a palpable world of 'nowness and reality" that reflects in the inarticulate and technically sloppy stuff that they deliver as art works. The folly in all this is that they are super happy with all that they produce(!), and choose to ignore the "in your face" lack of standard that is terrifyingly evident. They also ignore the very obvious fact that they really need to spend much more time in learning and deliberating on their work, with an objective and critical distance through which they must negotiate and resolve.
I also wonder why I am invited into these spaces. My belief is that there is an unstated and naive desire on their part to be embraced by mindless praise, that would (I imagine) bolster their sense of internal security. However when any intelligent discourse is initiated the rigmaroles of fear and panic set in, and one either has the defence mechanism of bratty arrogance or sniffling servitude that becomes the modus operandi of these communications; both of which leave me perplexed and mildly irritated and extremely bored!
The exhibition, the catalogue, the price tag: these seem to be the ultimate emblems that these youngsters imagine define what an artist is all about! It's all about the race to be seen. It's all about getting a small mention in a newspaper and perhaps a photograph. Wow! This = SUCCESS! Their inability to create a critical distance within themselves to negotiate and problematize their own work is transparently obvious in the "sweetie pie syndrome" of "I love everything I do" attitude that is flaunted in your face. Well so does Paris Hilton, and who cares, so lets get real!
I have resolved not to rupture my days any more with these useless (and far too frequent) requests to view art at these private viewings. Such meetings are embarrassingly torturous for me and yield nothing of consequence because the intellectual depth appears deliberately and shockingly stilted by choice. The magical "at a press of a button Internet" world seems to be the only universe and bedrock of belonging for many of this generation. Art history plays no significant role to either contextualise of inform, and the foolery of this charade becomes burdensome for others to encounter and to treat seriously.
The strutting arrogant artist or the about to burst into tears artist is truly wearisome. I like to encounter substance and character when I meet people. Articulation is not determined by how much you talk, but in what evidences itself as your preoccupations and your method of realising your concepts within a visual language. The superficiality of trite engagement stifles me and I wonder what truth lies ahead for these chill-pill kids on the block! If I sound harsh, trust me, on this occasion I am really measuring my words! My parting line on this issue would be: Have the courage to challenge yourself and you will be pleasantly surprised with what you discover about yourself.