28 May 2010

An amazing use of discarded materials.....a different perspective on art!!!!

In keeping with today’s topic which I seem to be very taken up with, I came across some more installation works online by contemporary artists, who stretch the boundaries of their creativity.

One such artist, is the Indiana based Japanese artist Sayaka Ganz, a young girl who creates sculptures & artworks using discarded & used materials like plastic, metals & utensils like spoons & forks. These sculptures are not randomnly done but depict forms, mostly animals in various stages of movements, giving you the feeling of them being alive…

As the artist says, the used materials because of the human story behind them, have a life of their own & transcend their origins by being integrated into an animal form. She also goes to say that by creating the sculptures, it is her way to depict that even though there is a whole lot of conflict all round, all of the pieces fit together to form a cohesive whole, that every person will eventually find some place to belong to even if they aren’t sure when.

The sculptures are beautiful & being made with pre-defined forms gives them a uniqueness that is hard to define. What a depth of thinking & creativity for someone so young of age!!

More images of her works can be found at her website: www.sayakaganz.com

A urinal................The most influential art of the 20th century!!!!!

This is one artist I don’t think many of us have heard of, but take a look at the kind of art he created!!!

Called as ‘The Fountain’, this piece of installation art was created by the artist Marcel Duchamp in the year 1917. He called it as ‘readymades’ or found art since he made use of an already exisiting object & affixed his signature to it, giving it credibility in the name of art.

To understand the work, it is important to understand the artist behind the work. Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) came to the US from France & became a part of the Dada movement, an anti-art cultural movement. He wasn’t satisfied with just being an artist & didn’t want to be a part of any art camp. This prompted him to express his creative abilities through other means.

To create ‘ The Fountain’, he purchased a standard Bertfordshire urinal & re-oriented it to a position of 90 degrees from its normal position of use & wrote on it, “R. Mutt 1917”

This model was then given to the Society of Independent Artists of which he was a board member, under the above pseudonym which was received with a lot of shock & indecision & was hidden from public view. Subsequently the work was also featured in a Dadaist article entitled the ‘The Richard Mutt Case’ with a caption proclaiming, “Whether Mr Mutt made the fountain with his own hands or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object” This article helped in giving it recognition & pointed out the fact that a general physical craft was given an intellectual interpretation. Subsequently, this original piece was discarded. Thus Duchamp made several similar works again under his own name & these are now a part of many public collections all around the world.

In December 2004, the artwork was voted the most influential art work of the 20th Century by a group of British artists & it just goes to show that creativity is just about thinking differently!!!

26 May 2010

RK Laxman.....considered India's greatest cartoonist!!!!

There was a time when cartooning never used to be considered an art but just a way of doodling, a hobby. All this has changed now since cartoons, through their way of expression are being considered as part of the creative process!!!

A man, who has contributed the most towards this form in India, is the famous cartoonist & illustrator R K Laxman (B: 1924) His interpretation of 'the common man' is one that probably every Indian will know of & identify with.

Born in Mysore, he is the brother of the famous English Language novelist, R.K.Narayan whose books featured a number of his works. From a very young age, Laxman was engrossed in illustrations by foreign magazines, particularly cartoons by the British Cartoonist Sir David Low & took to drawing figures all over his house. The encouragement he received was immense & he began to consider himself an artist from a very young age itself.

In order to pursue a career in painting, he tried enrolling at the Sir JJ School of arts, Mumbai but was refused entry saying that he lacked the talent required!!! He thus continued with his freelance work contributing to newspapers & magazines like Swarajya & Blitz. Gradually he began to illustrate for his brother’s stories in the Hindu & focused more on political cartoons which became his forte. In this capacity, he worked for the Times of India, a large publication group in a career spanning more than 50 years.

In addition to publications, Laxman is also known for his illustrations in several books, most notably the Malgudi stories written by his brother R.K.Narayan. This book was even made into an Indian tele-serial featuring his work which was a major hit at the time.

Currently, we are seeing a lot of encouragement given to this creative art form & the credit for this goes solely to artists like R.K Laxman who are majorly responsible for this trend!!!

24 May 2010

Raja Ravi Verma.....a genius from whose work emnated the fragrance of its characters!!!

The painting, ‘ Lady with the lamp’ is one that has been seen & reproduced innumerable times. It can be found in many homes, places & stores all over India & the haunting nature of the painting brings into sharp focus the mastery & genius of the painter, Raja Ravi Verma who is an inspiration for a whole generation of Indian artists.

It feels proud to note that the artist, Ravi Verma (1848 – 1906) was born in our very own Kerala, India in a family of scholars & poets. His talent was noticed at a very young age by his uncle who initiated him into the arts. He was trained at the Travancore palace in water colours & then later through trial & error learned the technique of oil painting which was very new in those days. Since he used indigenous paints made of flowers, leaves etc initially which was difficult, he found the medium of oils to be more flexible, thus using this in portraiture painting.

Starting with the Tanjore style of painting, he managed to blend it with the European realism, thus creating portraits that managed to add an elegance to the personality of the subject giving them an ethereal quality. Having won the first prize at the Madras Painting exhibition in 1873, he became a world famous Indian painter after winning the Vienna exhibition in 1873. Though folk art forms were used as illustrations for religious narratives previously, he was the first one to give a human face to Hindu Gods & Goddess’s by his depiction of mythological characters through his paintings which continues in books & calendars even to this day.

Another first to his credit, was the production of oleographic prints which helped in mass reproduction of his paintings done by the famous Dadasaheb Phalke of Indian Films.

Although he lived for a short while, his extensive body of work will be a benchmark for generations to come & be recognized for its haunting quality & ability to capture the underlying emotions of his subjects!!!

21 May 2010

Hawa Mahal....an intricate jewel in Indian architecture!!!

Most of us, me included might never have heard of 'Hawa Mahal', a beautiful & delicate architectural wonder situated in Jaipur, India. I came across it while searching for some other information & the detailing of the building just caught my eye!!!

Also called as the 'Wind Palace', because of its numerous windows which allows wind (hawa) to pass through, it was constructed under the reign of Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh & designed by Lal Chand Ustad in 1799. A symbol of fanciful architecture, it was in the form of the Hindu God, Lord Krishna’s crown or mukuta.

It consists of 5 stories of small semi-octagonal overhanging windows covered with lattice screens meant for a purpose!!! An extension of the royal city palace, the building was used to house the ladies of the harem who could view the old city below through these windows, while remaining hidden from public view. The building construction is so delicate, that the building acts like an architectural veil, a thin screen with many niches, carved grills & domes & lots of filigree work giving the building a honeycomb appearance & its inbuilt uniqueness. It was made of red & pink sandstone & combined both the Hindu & Muslim architectural heritage, domed canopies, fluted pillars, floral patterns etc
The palace affords a panoramic view of most of Jaipur, its deserts & market places & can be easily located due to its pinkness which stands testimony to the epithet given to Jaipur, that of being a ‘Pink City’

The beauty of the palace, shines through even in photographs & the vision of its ruler is embodied in this architectural marvel that reflects a profound contradiction, that of being delicate yet strong enough to stand the test of time!!!