Faces of print
Platographic Expressions, an exhibition of 111 artists, aims to revive printmaking in the country
"IN a huge city like Mumbai, there are barely two facilities available for an artist to pursue printmaking once s/he is out of college. Or the artist has to go to Sir JJ School of Art, which always encourages printmaking, but only when their regular classes are not in session," rues 71-year-old artist, teacher and printmaker, Kashinath Salve.
Platographic prints by Sudhir Patwardhan
Salve was professor at the institute till 2001. Then, he felt the need to do something about the dearth of good, affordable centres in the city. In four years, Salve compiled the works of 111 artists across India; the result is the exhibition, Platographic Expressions. Each print has been created using a relatively new technique called platography or plate lithography. "With funds generated from the sale of these prints, I hope to create a space where all types of printmaking facilities are available under one roof. It can become a space where printmaking artists can pursue the art, whether etching, lithography, serigraphy, platography or digital imaging. This project is a dream come true but it will be complete only if we set up a fully equipped graphic studio," maintains Salve.
The portfolio project includes the works of some top artists of India like Akbar Padamsee, Arpana Caur, Ganesh Holoi, Gieve Patel, Jyoti Bhatt, KG Subramaniyan, Krishen Khanna, Lalitha Lajmi, Nirmalendu Das, Satish Gujral, Sudhir Patwardhan and Thota Vaikuntam. Salve and International Creative Art Centre (ICAC) have also compiled a coffee table book-cum-portfolio on printmaking.
An under explored form
Both Salve and Ravindra Mardia (the latter is the curator of the exhibition and founder of ICAC), feel that galleries in India barely participate in printmaking due to poor revenues. "The buyers are not interested in purchasing prints as the common man in India still lacks a proper orientation about the value of a print. Fellowships and scholarships, travel grants, workshops, seminars and exchange programmes with other countries can keep the technique alive in India," says Mardia.
On the contrary, he feels that graphic prints (or art prints) are one of the most popular among art buyers, seasoned collectors, as well as artists. She cites the example of Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso who worked extensively with graphic prints, leading to their increased popularity in the contemporary art marketplace. It is the affordability of graphic prints that gives art lovers a chance to own a piece by a master.
Artist Kashinath Salve
Salve feels that printmakers should look at their collective approaches from a pragmatic point of view, with the result being a broad based understanding. "The show presents the progress beyond the distraction of limitations, definitions and traditional boundaries. It showcases the innovation, invention and technological advancement, as well as serves as a vehicle to attract the general public and educate people about print as a fine arts medium," he concludes.
From: January 12 to 18
At: Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda.
From: January 19 to 28
At: ICAC, Atria Mall, Worli.
"There isn’t any difference in the output between a platograph and a lithograph. However, in platography, we avoid the handling of the heavy slab of stone.
In this modern plate lithography, the image is made of polymer coating applied to a fixed aluminum plate. The advantage is that the image can be directly printed from the plate or it can be offset, by transferring the image onto a flexible rubber sheet for printing.
The time it takes to resurface is lesser than it takes to grain even a very small stone, and there is no expense for graining abrasives," explains Salve.