Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Magic moments lost

I went to an exhibition yesterday that placed me in a time warp of sorts, where I felt as though I was back in the '80's and that old ideas of figuration in painting were playing ghost games with me. The problem within today's practice of art in Baroda is that with the college loosing its intellectual vibrancy, we have begun to sprout small town ideas of grandeur that is only directed towards making it big and becoming known via magazine publicity and page 3 exposure. Huge sized paintings loaded with trite symbolism, and "political" videos and gaudy boxes with strange objects as their hidden treasures seem so passe and contrived. Art must accommodate art historical comprehension if it is to find its contextual place of truth.

Perhaps painters today need to shed their guilt and not self-insist that inventiveness be equated with gimmickry. The simple presentation of work can be poignantly gripping without any additional tamasha required, yet many feel obliged to play to the gallery (excuse the pun!) and make these offerings of high drama that fall flat.

In many instances what gets revealed is that the artist needs to concentrate on developing their skills better. This would allow them to develop an articulation that would give them the facility to communicate their ideas without relying so heavily on extraneous paraphernalia, that is finally all a song and dance without much substance.

I continuously tell my students that an idea is only as good as how one is able to deliver it with the magic of conviction. If that is compromised then a work looses its power to be a site of potency. I am convinced that all artists hold the ability to invest their works with competence and critical sharpness; the problem is that not many want to make the effort to master it.

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