Sunday, August 26, 2012

Highlights of the KNMA collection

Some of the highlights of the comprehensive KNMA collection are as follows:

‘Absence of God VIII’ (2008) by Raqib Shaw

The work featured at the KNMA can be considered a metaphor for his tumultuous childhood in Kashmir. At first, his visually deceptive canvas tends to leave the viewer dazed with its enameled, gemstone-studded surface. But a deeper inspection brings to the fore some gory details of a world (dis)order in a state of near collapse.

The multi-faceted artist is known to employ mix media, such as car enamels and industrial paints coupled with decorative materials comprising glitter and precious gemstones for densely patterned and elaborately layered surfaces that combine an Eastern and Western perspective. Born in Kolkata, raised in Kashmir and located in London for more than a decade, the talented contemporary artist created waves with his ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’.

The erotically charged works courtesy Victoria Miro were inspired by Hieronymous Bosch’s 15th century triptych. The artist depicted a dizzying scenario of erotic hedonism, both gruesome and explosive in its debauchery. It was a fantastical underwater world full of mythical creatures populated with hybrid creatures and fusing a wide array of fabulously painted flora and fauna. A work from the series went for a whopping $5 million (around Rs. 22.8 crore) at the Sotheby’s auction in 2007.

Blue Abstract (1965) by VS Gaitonde
This is rare oil on canvas work by the reclusive modern master. His paintings were invariably described as abstract in nature. Personally, he rejected the tag. VS Gaitonde instead preferred to see them as 'non-objective,' visualizing more as a balanced juxtaposition of colors and texture. He meticulously maneuvered his medium on the canvas with precision, building up pigments to only strip them away and unravel hidden layers of the work.

Revealing his mindset as a painter, he had once remarked: 'A painting is simply a painting - a play of light and color...Each (painting) is a seed that germinates in the next one. It’s not limited to one canvas. I go on adding elements and that's how my work evolves.” It was a kind of never-ending metamorphosis in a canvas, extending onto the next one. As a whole, the captivating canvases displayed spiritual quality and characteristic silence – meditative, eternal and momentous, evoking subliminal depths of emotions.

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