Art News & Views

Art Events Kolkata: November – December 2011

The Month that was

by Mrinal Ghosh

Memories of a Beautiful Mind: Photographs by Dev Nayak

Harrington Street Art Centre November 2011

Dev Nayak is a Kolkata based photographer whose main focus of work is cultural anthropology, heritage, economical migration, popular art forms etc. In this exhibition he has worked on the legendary German choreographer and performer of modern dance Pina Bauch (1940 – 2009). She and her group have been photographed during their last dance theatre performance in India. Photographing during a performance is generally a difficult task. Dev has done it very successfully and sensitively. Through duality of sharp contours and smudges he has created an aesthetic environment emanating the beautiful contrast of dark and vibrant warm colours. The physical body of the dancer is heightened towards an ethereal spirituality and transformed into light against the darkened background. The exquisite imaginative quality and technical skill of the artist has added brilliance to the project.

Arshinagar: Solo Exhibition of Prabal C. Boral

Academy of Fine Arts                                
11 November to 17 November, 2011

The paintings and sculptures of Prabal C. Boral convey a sense of humour, wit and sarcasm to enter into and dissect the deeper aspect of reality. Fantasy is his point of departure. It's a means to reflect the bare truth of the life. Boral is an adroit draftsman. His continuous exercise in drawing is amazing. But in his painting he can hide that exercise. Taking the cue from primitivism and cubism of Picasso he paints and sculpts what he sees around him. His works are apparently whimsical but in the deeper core they are serious critique of the aberrations of the life.

Games and Pastime Through the Ages

Asutosh Birth Centenary Hall                    
17 November to 25 November, 2011

Presented by Indian Museum Kolkata this exhibition was organized to create awareness among the people about the tradition of sports and pastime in Indian society from the remote past to the present day. Traditional games and sports are parts of the intangible heritage and a symbol of cultural diversity of our society. The tradition and nature of indoor and outdoor games changes with time. It also varies from region to region. The exhibition started from prehistoric period and traversed through protohistoric period represented by 29 works from Harappa and Mohenjodaro and arrived at 2nd century BC. A number of exquisite pieces from this century have been presented. Among them there was 'Cow Toy Cart' from Chandraketugarh, 'Bull Cart' from Kosam, 'Bullock Toy Cart' from Kapilavastu, 'Dice Play' from Bharhut etc. The Bharhut piece was a relief stone carving containing all the characteristics of this school and was very unique in rhythmic representation. Thus traversing the classical period the exhibition came to Mughal paintings and Rajput and Pahari miniature paintings. The 18th century Kangra painting in guache on paper representing 'Siva as Archer' showing the young Siva with bow and arrow on the back of a bull was an art work of exquisite beauty. Thus the exhibition presented an overview of the evolution of art in India though the passage of history.

Celebrating 75 years of Dhiraj Choudhury

Academy of Fine Arts                               
18 November to 23 November, 2011

Dhiraj Choudhury celebrated his 75th year through his retrospective exhibition of drawings, paintings, sculptures and ceramics. It was a magnificent exposition supported by his friends and fellow artists. Earlier a workshop was held in which 75 artists worked in his honour and to felicitate him. The works produced in the workshop were also been displayed. Dhiraj was a student of Government Art College, Calcutta. After passing out from here he joined Delhi Art College as a teacher and passed a considerable period of his creative life there. He is one of artists who created significant form during the decade of 1960-s. During 1970-s he evolved his own style. The emaciated elongated fantasy oriented figures suggesting lyrical beauty are the hallmark of his personal style. As a socially committed artist his works always grow out of a synthesis between the two poles of existence, angst and ecstasy. During the later part of his artistic career he has emerged as a very competent sculptor. In this exhibition his works in wood, bronze and ceramics posit a very original sensibility.

Adbhutam: Rasa in Indian Art

2 December to 31 December, 2011

The show comprised of 43 works, painting, sculpture, video etc by 39 contemporary artists from all over India. The exhibition was based on an earlier show CIMA had taken to London in 1996  Chamatkara: Myth & Magic in Indian Art. Chamatkara, according to Indian classical art theory, denotes the essence of aesthetic feelings a spectator experiences while looking at a work of art. The term also indicates the deviation or distortion of perceived reality that is required for its transformation to art. Thus in some way it covers the aesthetic essence of contemporary terms like fantasy, surrealism, magic realism etc. The Chamatkara was designed to examine the concept of indigenous identity of our contemporary art. Since then 15 years have passed. Social and political condition of life has also changed, both locally and globally. The aim of the show Adbhutam was to explore how far the question of identity is still valid in the present changed circumstances. Among the participating or selected artists there were VS Gaitonde, J. Swaminathan, SH Raza, KG Subramanyan, Arpita Singh, Ganesh Pyne, Jogen Chowdhury and also such comparatively juniors like Abir Karmakar, Surekha, Chintan Upadhyay, Kingshuk Sarkar and many others. One large scroll painting displayed on the floor done by the traditional folk painters of Bengal, Madhu and Hazra Chitrakar, adds unique glamour to the show.

Post Cards by Nandalal Bose

Gallery Akar Prakar                                     
5 December to 24 December, 2011

Curated by Debdutta Gupta the exhibition showcased small format drawings and paintings on post cards by the celebrated artist Nandalal Bose. During the later part of his life he loved to write letters to his friends and students and decorate the writings with sketches and drawings. These drawings and paintings were very intimate images of life and nature worked out in wash, pen & ink or other medium. In some cards images were formed with torn paper. All these works are very meticulous expression of how the master artist used to look at the life and nature. There are innumerable such post cards or small format art works in the private collection of many people. Some of them have been retrieved and presented in this exhibition. They reveal the intrinsic wisdom of the great artist of India, who worked all his life to find the inner treasure of our country.

Eyes on Life: Drawings of Satish Gujral

Aakriti Art Gallery                                    
10 December to 31 December, 2011

Satish Gujral started his carrier during the decade of 1940-s as rebellious artist with angst and anxiety as the primary mode of his expression. But during the sojourn of about six decades the multifarious artist, who has worked on various mediums like painting, metal sculpture, burnt wood sculpture, mural etc, has gradually turned his angst into ecstasy. In the present exhibition he has showcased linear forms with slight monochrome shedding, where life is exuberantly displayed in isometric type of apparent three dimensional execution. A gig form mechanical vehicle appears in many of his drawings, with which young men and women play with pleasure and gaiety. Movement or dynamism has been the recurrent form. Zebra is one of his favourite subjects. This long necked docile animal with linear stripes through out the body appears in his drawings as a pleasant beauty. Through such decorative modes the artist posits his optimistic view of life.

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