He may not be a man of few words for he is vociferous when it comes to expressing himself on issues from artistic to social, but he is a painter of few canvases, for he doesn't believe in “mass production”. Sakti Burman is a well known name in the art circles, but seldom seen in India for he lives in Paris for the greater part of the year.
Being less available to his admirers, it was, perhaps, a good idea for him to show his works as serigraphs. So, this time, Sakti Burman's show at Apparao Gallery is a “small retrospective” as he puts it, of works he did in the last 25 to 30 years. The Serigraph Studio of Mumbai has ‘reproduced' 24 of his works in two sizes — 5X22X33 inches and 30X40 inches — available for Rs.30,000 and 45,000 respectively. This set, titled “The Complete Collection” includes Burman's “choicest works”, most of which have been with collectors.
“Serigraphy or fine art silk prints are prepared by “applying layers of ink on archival paper and building the image on it through screen printing,” says Lavesh Jagasia, owner of The Serigraph Studio who began with serigraphy of Paritosh Sen 10 years ago and serigraphed S. H. Raza, Ganesh Haloi, Jahangir Sabavala, Jogen Chowdhury and K.G. Subramanian among others. “Being printed on archival paper its minimum age is 80 years,” says Jagasia.
Burman's famous works blending iconography of East and West done over 30 years, and the more contemporary ones (done in the last four years) form a part of this collection. Says the 75-year-old artist, “I decided to go serigraph for I got many collectors who come to me to have my particular works but as I only produce 10 to 15 works a year, I could never give them. So, when Lavesh came up with the idea of fine art prints called ‘original multiples' done under the supervision of the artist and certified and signed by him, I thought it would save me the sadness of many of my admirers.”
But an exclusive work of his has its own value, and its owner generally minds it being with many. Burman assures us he hasn't faced resentment from any quarter. “In fact,” he says, “they were happy that now the works they have are officially documented, recognised and talked about. So it makes them feel more proud.”
Artists, he adds, use lithography, etching, aquatint, linograph, etc. just to have multiple editions of their works. Picasso did a lot of this to achieve multiplicity, he asserts. “I have chosen as wide a variety of my works as possible,” concludes the veteran.
Adds Jagasia, “Serigraphy goes as close to the original work as possible, though it is not an exact facsimile of the work, because the medium of reproduction and the latitude of colour spectrum is different. But the works have the same visual feel.”
The exhibition concludes on March 10.