I Ask The Form Which Medium It Wants

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    • Publish Date: May 29 2016 5:19PM
    • |
    • Updated Date: Jun 8 2016 3:25PM
I Ask The Form Which Medium It Wants

Veteran artist Satish Gujral continues to experiment. His latest show of paintings, drawings and sculptures explores the conflicts between modernity and traditions

Nineteen forty eight. That's the year Satish Gujral first dipped his brush into paint. 2010, half a decade and more later, he's still at it. What's more, over the years he's experimented with different mediums ranging from painting to drawing to sculptures, even architecture. He's explored diverse themes, as he bluntly puts it, "If I have nothing new to say, I won't say anything, I won't hold a show for years." Now, again, the veteran artist has something different to share - his latest exhibition, Tryst with Modernity and Tradition, comprising paintings, drawings and sculptures, relates, through three varied mediums, the artist's observations, experiences and thoughts about the marriage between tradition and technology. 

His creative philosophy lies in experimentation. Change is the only constant with Gujral, be it in content, style or technique. Or else, he states, the medium becomes "stale". It is this uncomfortable feeling of familiarity that draws him to find other identities time and again. "One can discover new things every day, everywhere. I once remember observing burning cinder as it turned from red to black. The colour and the texture of that transformation excited me, inspired me. Over the past decade, technology and new inventions have become an integral part of our lives. But at the same time, the roots of our cultures are still alive. While on the one hand we have new technologies and machines, on the other, we still have an image of God in our homes. This exhibition expresses this new language of the co-existence of tradition and modernity," Gujral states. His message of 'Evolve, but without letting your roots die' carries forward into the world of art as well. "I like the new wave of young, experimental art that is taking over the Indian art scene. But one must not forget that only art which has national roots can become international and hence universal. New-age artists must not reject their traditional moorings."

He's left his mark in almost every conceivable medium; which one challenges and excites him the most? "It's never one above the other. Today I feel like having vegetables, tomorrow I might feel like eating chicken! That does mean I prefer chicken to vegetables. It's a feeling at that point in time. It's not what I want, but what the form wants of me. I ask the form which medium it wants," Gujral points out.

In different periods, varying concerns have driven the artist. Some offered relief, some stirred and provoked, others he questioned. But we sense a state of calm in this series, a mellow and meditative treatment; has the artist in him conquered the angst of the Partition-induced turmoil and reached a place of peace and self-acceptance? Gujral smiles, "The mind is in constant turmoil till I arrive at the soul of things. But at 84, after having seen so much, I now want to paint the other side of turmoil with the same force."


- TNN


 

 

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