In a conscious attempt to break free from the trammels of tradition and reinstitute old images in a more global contemporary context, the CIMA Gallery brings together the works of seventeen artists from a cooperative workshop in Kolkata with its show “In Search of a Context.” The exhibition’s diverse works are united by the simple and powerful principle of reinterpretation: each piece is derived from the artist’s response to an earlier work by another artist. In “Hirak Rajar Deshe (or Game of Diamonds),” for instance, the artist Jogen Chowdhury responds to a painting of concentric rectangles by J. Swaminathan. While Swaminathan’s original implies the spiritual undertones of a mandala, Jogen’s black diamond checkerboard re-interpretation invokes the games of political powerplay through the inserted text from the Nandigram-Singur rebellion.
Another painting that reveals the vulnerability of an aging woman, “Woman Changing Cloths,” by Arpita Singh, is reframed by Swarna Chitrakar, a folk artist from rural Bengal. She quite literally frames Singh’s piece with a narrative border in the Midnapur scroll tradition that has the effect of seeming to invade the central figure’s privacy. Yet the intimacy of the two women’s images seem somehow well matched.
Although the show is broad in themes and media—including everything from painting to photography to sculpture to video, the very specific conceit of the exhibition makes for an aesthetically and intellectually rewarding romp.
-- Dr. Rituparna Basu
The website will be permanently closed shortly, so please retrieve any content you wish to save.