Death of Desire-Ratnabali Kant

“All the world’s objects, beautiful and ugly, high and low, sharp and soothing, obscure and deformed, can, when perceived by the poet’s imagination, generate the aesthetic feeling.”  : Dasarupaka of Dhananjaya

Today’s art is like a moving mirror where one can see the shifting reality by imbibing the impressions from as many sources as possible by not confining oneself to any boundary. The artist searches for creative directions from within and without. Each artist has treasures of choices and tries to form new equations with the world, accessible by technology and travel, by collecting ideas and materials, and exploiting them to the full to give proper vent to their feelings. An effort can be seen to go beyond existing and unselfconscious making of a new art language and expand oneself by harmonious blend of intelligence and judgment.

A whole new vision has come up which is the mirror of symbolic configuration, experiments through various mediums and technical explorations play with space, textures and spontaneity of approach. These experimentations have generated large dividend in visual variety. In this expressional fluency one even sees a positive exploitation of an accidental by forming meanings out of nothing. Split, splash and splatter have become the buzzwords of new painterly aesthetics.

While mentioning a few, when one looks at the wall construction of Asim Waqif, one finds adaptation of different styles, which may seem incongruous but are testimony of his efforts to establish identity by concoction of beads, lenses and architectural drawings where anything of no value has been assembled to bring back its value and turn into an aesthetic work of art. This communion or interactivity has made the art scene highly charged up with art practices becoming steadily varied and less tradition bound. Reena Saini Kallat’s Silt of Seasons comprises of four sections full of works in various media consisting of video installation, marble installations and photo series, representing the border zone between India and Pakistan.

Installation and Performance in art signals an important, innovative direction in artist’s practice, which creates the intensity of realization and recognition of spirit for both __ the artist and the audience. Installing something or the other along with any work of art, forces the spectator to use his imagination and form a new kind of interaction between the articles displayed and the art piece - an attempt to bridge the gap between inner and outer components. It breaks the decorum of hanging a single object on wall or displayed on the pedestal to be experienced purely visually, but allows an assembly of objects – found, invented, readymade, fragments and even texts to combine and be re-conceptualized through a method of visual fragmentation. Viren Tanvar used to scatter heads on the floor, while figures on his canvas were headless, leaving the spectator to form new equations as per their feelings and needs. Alka Chadha Harpalani has used baby in fibre to hang with her paintings to depict her incomplete story of motherhood. One doesn’t need words to describe the blend. In fact the vision moves in continuation to form a chain of meanings itself. It’s a kind of blurring of boundaries, an overlapping of the artistic and the ordinary.

Ein Lall is an artist from Sri Lanka whose works are not only repetition but also multiplicity is a major consideration. Her works are close to the world of movement where images on projector work in harmonious collaboration with the dancer. Her movie becomes an extension to dancer’s anatomy and movement and vice versa. It is as elusive as dancer itself and functional in it’s becoming a part of theatre magic, prop as well as visual image. ‘Kathakali’ shows how with Arjun’s Mantra a foetus is turned to a warrior, by graphic effects. The overlapping and change in expressions of a bare face tuned to kathakali is very captivating. In the end there is a symbolic representation of moon merging in darkness, depicting Subhudra going to sleep.

Another perfect example of installation along with performance is an artist from Kolkatta, Ratnabali Kant. Her act of creation gives new life to shape and image, evoking a whole new world of sensations. One can see a scene animated by emotions, longings and dispositions. Her work ‘Facing nightmare alone’ shows six static figures – A lady figure splayed on the ground and five male figures on a wall. It’s a depiction of Draupadi and her husbands on one hand and on the other; these functional figures are symbol of high society and the position of women in it. ‘Death of Desire’ is a performance installation, interplay between the artist and the earthen pots kept upside down depicting shattering of desires. The artist in white clothes put colour on herself, lies on ground as a dead and a little girl draws outline of her body. In the end, black colour is applied on pots and then all are broken down with a stick. One sees an unrepressed way of channeling them into artistic visualizations. The light, sound, incorporation of text and other readymade material do not reflect its temporary character but add to the wholeness of an aesthetic experience. The art today is getting democratized where all art forms are not in the race of cancelling or diminishing each other but involved in a dialogic relationship of enhancement and cordiality.

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