Young artist Manjunath Kamath will be painting on the walls of the gallery and not the canvas in his upcoming show.
Going going gone…. Things like these don't happen every other day, but then art has always been about the non-conventional. Whether it is a senior artist like Jahangir Sabawala or a contemporary artist like Bharti Kher — whose sculpture “The Skin Speaks a Language of its Own” fetched Rs.7 crore at the Sotheby's auction last month, making her the country's ‘top-selling woman artist' — it is firstly about the language, and, of course a good idea to back it.
Now, Manjunath Kamath like many of his peers, chases the quirk, breaks down set notions in his upcoming ‘show' at Gallery Espace next month. Well, the Mangalore-born artist does that all the time, but it's almost like going one step further. In his next project, the artist shifts his studio to Gallery Espace in New Friends Colony for a week, drawing live in front of viewers.
There won't be any canvases to see or buy because “you can't buy what's drawn on the walls of a gallery. One should come and just enjoy it and celebrate the moment like in a Durga Puja or Dussehra,” says the artist, who is known to traverse various disciplines like drawing, painting, sculpture and video.
The idea of making a 2000-sq-ft gallery his canvas is rooted in the belief that “viewers don't see a painting. They only look at it these days, always either through a camera or a mobile,” feels Kamath. In equal measure, it stems from the need to break down the wall that exists between an artist and a viewer, who is not necessarily a buyer. “The process is not seen and experienced, making it look like a product coming out of a factory. How an artist gets an idea, how he interprets it doesn't reach people,” adds Kamath.
At the gallery, the young artist will work just like he operates in his studio based in Hauz Khas Village. “I haven't decided what I will paint. Whatever idea I will get then, maybe something that has got triggered by an interaction with a guest, I will paint it on any of the walls. It could have influence of murals of Kerala and be illustrative in nature,” explains Kamath, who says the idea is soaked in his old habit of scribbling anywhere anytime. Sharing that private space with viewers sauntering in unannounced also poses a challenge for Kamath or for any other artist. “A lot of artists say, we don't care about who sees it, but somewhere we are always conscious about our work being seen by the people. Would I paint for myself or to please the viewers, how conscious would I be of their presence are a few things…I don't know…,” Manjunath trails off.
Consumerism, environment, illusion…young artists come together to engage with a host of ideas in the realm of visual arts in Gallery Espace's ongoing show ‘Going Going Gone'. But what binds them together is the commentary they all make on the fragile world with fast lives.
Agitated by the negative news “almost celebrated in newspapers”, Bhubaneswar-based Kanta Kishor Moharana has been creating newspaper sculptures in marble for the last 10 years but he gives them a positive makeover. “In the newspaper titled ‘Headlines Today' the headline reads, ‘Let us Fight Terrorism' instead of saying so many people got killed in this place. It's all engraved while the gun which has been stuck to it with gum has been created in bronze.” The work hints at various externalities that have a bearing on the thought processes of the people. Ajay Singh Kanwal plays with the idea of ‘illusion' in his work which has two wooden boxes wrapped in white canvas and onto them are tied ghunguroos. The boxes have an electronic motor inside and when a viewer puts a step forward, the electronic sensors in the work capture it and the wooden boxes start vibrating. “It is based on the old philosophy of when you want something and make an effort, the entire universe comes together to help you. But what is universe, it's an illusion,” says the Baroda-based Kanwal who teaches at the Faculty of Arts, M.S. University, Baroda. Vinita Khanna's blooms created from found material remind one of human interventions in the natural eco-system, whereas Sharad Sonsukale's work hints at some imminent danger. Shubha Taparia's photo-realistic works showcase the co-existence of two streams of life: pavement squatters against the high-end global luxurious brands at the famous Taj Hotel in Mumbai.
(The exhibition is on till August 6)