To the readers,
Exhibition of painting, sculpture & print at Jehangir Art Gallery
The dream of seven artists from Bengal have been prepared to organize their art show (Soap Opera) at Jehangir Art Gallery in the auditorium gallery from 10th April to 16th April 2018 for exhibiting their paintings, sculptures & prints etc. Nabakumar Chakrabarty, Malay Saha, Shubhabrata Bose, Utpal Dutta, Kaushik Halder, Rajarappa Roy & Nilotpal Sinha will participate this exhibition with their own efforts to open the lid of the hope-box. Rajat Roy, a famous novelist prepared introductory catalogue writing including all writings on each participant’s works to boost the nature of this exhibition as much as possible and the inauguration program shall be conducted by few eminent personalities of art & cultural arena who are well-known & beloved to these artists.
S O A P O P E R A – Engagements of the Illusory Present
Where are the soapboxes to stand up on and speak? As we zip through the second decade of a brand new millennium, pumping humungous amounts of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere, never prepared to sacrifice the good life, is there an independent platform left wherefrom we can engage? If not the trenches then at least a wobbly chair to sit on and write a post script perhaps? A dim-lit stage at the end of an alley where you appear in war paint and drown your listeners with a hailstorm of cold laughter — puncturing greed and desire with nine inch ferrous nails, emptying the garbage bin of a festering art on your gimlet-eyed viewers? This exhibition with its operatic breadth, attempts all of this and travels further still, leaving us with a mix of aesthetic fulfillment and philosophical unease.
Chimera-like presences hold our gaze, withering bouquets decorate chimney-vases, cyborg-like swans contort their artificial necks while aqua-lunged fish dress up with shark fins in a parody of social posturing and defensive mimicry. These forms, the canvases and sculptures, are painted with attention-grabbing reds, electric blues, and contrasting yellow-blacks or sometimes in moody greys, silvers and slate, which is the livery of dystopia.
But before darkness engulfs the planet and black flowers bloom in terrace gardens, there is laughter’s shiny pulpit and there is also the podium for teeth-gnashing. Here we discover microprocessors chewing into the vestiges of art and spewing out new images, dropping hints, deconstructing and recreating meaning. Only, if there remained someone to read the signals. Where have all the folks vanished? Are they cowering in fear faced with the spectre of the mushroom cloud?
Perhaps they have just become pieces in the puzzle and hiding in plain sight — shadowy figures locked amongst the dazzling lines and gaudy colours of a world where hierarchies have dissolved and objects have taken on characteristics of homo sapiens. Where, the inanimate can blister with rage, smile, laugh or shed a tear. It is perhaps possible to immerse in the magic of this inanimate empire — the kingdom of the wooden chair, of doors, windows, walls — the dominion of the geometric, the realm of iterative constructions, fashioned by our own hands.
The other course is of course to seek out a balance between man and his natural surroundings. To turn into a visionary and create artworks where fiery yellows of buildings peeping through drip-paint branches of evergreens, glow with ethereal light. Where, civilisation and architecture is in harmony with the magic of mountain sunsets. Where, hill and hearth commune in meditative silence.
Is it a valid escape? Will such a quest bear fruit for everybody? Are we confident our vision can light up the correct route in this gathering gloom of a sick planet? The artist need not provide answers. As long as his vision is firmly anchored in his emotional being, till the time his brush is wielded with firm belief and intricate details painted in brown, ochre, rust, gold and black bring the canvas alive, in a fantastic dance of creation, as in some of these paintings, there is no more burden the artist must bear.
In the ocean of imagination that constitutes this unique exhibition, significant form tells its own story, the lines dance their secret rhythms, the bright, brilliant, mellow and muted pigments come to life, communing with each viewer about growth, destruction, regeneration and metamorphosis.
Revel in the beauty of these frames, be pleasantly amused, and get a little provoked. Rub your hands. Screw your face in thought. Smile!
Novelist and critic