It was bound to happen sooner or later and I have heard it said that the experience of being in India was existential due to its metaphysical transcendence. At this time of the day you lie back-ceiling fan full blast-and wonder how you managed to spell it let alone know what it means. A syndrome perhaps of too many art openings.
Well., with more than 50 commercial art galleries, dozens of art and/or cultural centres, theatres, cinemas, dance academies and miscellaneous events-The recent Indo-Africa Gala at the Purana Quila for example, Delhi can lay claim to becoming the Cultural Capital of Asia-it certainly out does Tokyo. The growing presence of foreign artists, not only the usual crop of French, American, British or Australian but also Japanese and other Asians means that the capital has a veritable client base that is fuelling this maelstrom of “Love Art Now!” and I am only referring to the art openings I have attended.
So I have recovered from yet another round of having been to several openings in one evening of mostly Abstract Art. Yes we all know that it is a conception apart from concrete realities and is now fashionable emptiness. Ah, as you take a step back and gaze at those deeper, hidden layers of meaning and to think it is only two lahks. (Must get used to this counting system!). The artist was commendable in the ability to express emotion with wavy as opposed to straight lines and density coupled with the sensitivity of colours flags new directions in art investment. You stagger to the bar and are asked whether it is to be a “small” or “large” one sir? You tip your head to the right and get a knowing smile. No financial transaction transpired and indeed it was large! Ah the sacrifices one has to make for the Love of Art!
You clear your throat and espouse over the way the artist has caught the synergetic absence of non-verbal expression-the boundary that separates the realm within from the realm without. What did an MF Hussein go for the other day? And to think I was struggling with dualities within multiple frameworks and the new trend of Micro-Activism and installations by Karmen Dada from Croatia. At Art-Motif I did enjoy the work of John Tun Sein-his flowing abstractions were ill contained by spatial limitations. Understanding is through visual sensations even though rational principles may be at work. But in the final analysis it is a rejection of logical assertions. He does shred experiences –painful, archaic, sincere, unknowing, innocent, disruptive possibly naïve but in the end narratives that do go a long way.
As we head towards the hot dusty summer on the plains and where we are told art activity slows down to an abstract art snails pace you look down at the pile of invitations. One or two catch your eye. You scroll down to the lettering saying RSVP and quite rightly ignore it because you are expected there anyway and will you miss out?.
Pete Sake is an art critic based in Japan and now at present in Delhi
Has written and published in Japan, Spain, the UK and India.
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