Wednesday, August 28, 2013

'Beneath the Surface' at CIMA

Kala Bhavan, its faculty and students have developed this unique collaborative exhibition of graphics. Kala Bhavana, founded in 1919, is well-known as a distinguished centre for Visual Art practice and research in India.

A new group show at CIMA in Kolkata, is the culmination of a workshop, organized by Kala Bhavan, in honour of Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan to commemorate his birthday. This distinctive exhibition presents the works of thirty-nine artists, comprising of faculty members; students; and Professors emeritus of Kala Bhavan revolving around the process of etching - making a design on a metal plate by means of the action of acid.

The image is scratched through an acid – resistant coating, or etching – ground with a needle, exposing these parts of the metal beneath. The plate is then immersed in an acid bath, where the acid bites into the line of the design. The longer the plate is left, the deeper the lines become. It is a time and labor intensive process, where the artist is bodily involved in the making of the art.

The printing of currency notes uses the process of etching except it is done mechanically. Graphic print making has unfairly fallen in practice and value with the advent of digital printing. What the new approaches, cannot replicate, is the tactility of a classical etching. This show attempts to remind us of an endangered art practice thanks to an endeavor of Kala Bhavan.

In May 1951 Visva-Bharati was declared to be a central university and an institution of national importance by an act of Parliament. At Santiniketan the environment is always present in one's consciousness.  It becomes a part of one's being here, more than anywhere else, which is why it grows on you and having lived here once it is difficult to forget. 

The Santiniketan environment has changed, grown and evolved with its community. Rabindranath Tagore would never have accomplished his dream at Santiniketan had not some great minds, scholars and teachers assembled around him. From its embryonic state to its full maturity Visva-Bharati was ably fed, nurtured and tutored by some of the best minds of contemporary India or abroad.

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