Friday, July 08, 2005

The ultimate ‘bricks’ of existence

Santo Datta
[The Pioneer: April 8, 1998]

My first suggestion to the viewers is that they should not get stuck with the prevalence of triangles in his large acrylic paintings, thinking that it is yet another reification of the ‘Tantra Art’. Had it been so then Vishwanadhan’s casein paintings of horizontal segments stacked up in fascinating tropical colours would have remained alienated from the total body of his work, films, and graphics and etc. If we waive aside the ‘Tantra’ hangover, we will see that his triangles are one of the basic elements that makes squares, and a square and it half sprayed into a rectangle — the ‘Golden Section’ of the European Renaissance – and rectangles into further squares which, in India rituals and Tantric mandalas are kshetra or the space on earth.

Vishwanadhan combines and recombines these basic geometrical abstractions of our traditional symbology of creation and existence into paintings after paintings, sometimes painted in concentric brushstrokes of vermillion, saffron, touches of sap green and all forms stacked up one layer over another, sometimes brushed off partially, sometimes painted in an austere range of greys and browns like the early Cubists.

The patient viewer will not miss the continuous pulsation of movements, both in terms of colour arrangement and linear directions, a changing and at the same time changeless continuum of the fabric of life. This we find in his intaglio prints with the minimum linear elements. One thing intrigues me, that is the dark ‘dots’ in them. They are to made up of raisin dust. Then comes his large combines of squares of sand of different colours—the squares or the kshetras that make rectangles which can multiply in area ad infinitum….

Pictorally they have the beauty of the physicist’s equation that carries the bewilderingly enormous range of findings in a few algebraic expressions balanced on either side... His stacked up colour horizontals sometimes overlap, sometimes leave some bright chinks or cracks of the white canvass and the small sources of pure white light change the bright tropical colours dawn in unhurried brushstrokes…

Paintings By Elisabeth Buschmann

Excerpts from the Exhibitions visitor's book:

One never saw the mystic world in such lucid simplicity.
Beautiful and enticing visualisation indeed.

Tusar N. Mohapatra

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Semiotics, the theory and understanding of signs, suggests that a particular sign has a set of meanings, based on a systemic location and a discursive use of that sign. Every sign gains its meaning in a particular language system. Words have to be read in a given social context. Thus, for me, semiotics suggested that you could not ascribe universal values to literary texts. You had to understand the burden of interpretation and the burden of representation on those specific texts.

I am interested in the global context of the issue of global citizenship. Citizenship has largely been seen in its social, political and legal aspects. How does aesthetic and ethical experience form part of cultural citizenship? Sociologists and policy thinkers think of culture in the context of global governance and of culture as institutions. I believe cultural works ignite the issue of the cultural citizen.

In a world that is increasingly instrumentalist and consumerist, I think it is very important to set up against such a world the great aspirations of literature and poetry, of painting and music, because art and aesthetic experience adds ardour and passion to our principles and our beliefs. It should be seen as an essential part of our freedom and not an optional part of our lives.

Homi K. Bhabha

Towards a global cultural citizenship

The Aesthetic

The aesthetic is in this sense the relay or transmission mechanism by which theory is converted to practice, the detour taken by ethical ideology through the feelings and senses so as to reappear as spontaneous social practice.

Terry Eagleton
The Ideology