Seven artists tell us how they find beauty outside its most obvious forms
Globally, the Bold Art programme has a network of artist residencies, through which artists create works with material that the company employs for its products, such as ceramics and metal
It was a cool night and warm company on the lawns of a luxury hotel at Connaught Place in New Delhi, where we had gathered for an evening of discussions around art, architecture and design. The occasion was Bold Art Night, a platform conceptualised first in 2013 by Kohler India, a firm known for its long-standing interest in design development.
Globally, the Bold Art programme has a network of artist residencies, through which artists create works with material that the company employs for its products, such as ceramics and metal. While these residencies are yet to kick off here, Kohler India is in the process of building an art collection, which includes the late artist Hema Upadhyay's work in ceramic, The Pedestrian, an embodiment of her experience of Mumbai. From the first Bold Art Night in Mumbai, to the latest one in New Delhi on December 1, there has been a growing interest from the creative community. The event saw famous architects and designers present their thoughts on the theme "beauty lies in imperfection". Alongside their presentations and Upadhyay's impressive installation, works by seven young artists were also lined up in an open-air exhibition.
Curated by Art&Found, an online space for artists to showcase their works, the exhibition was along the lines of same theme. "When we got the brief, we wanted to tackle the theme in as many different ways as possible. Art&Found is known for uncovering top emerging Indian artists, and we found seven such from New Delhi with varied styles," says Aditya Mehta, the Mumbai-based founder of Art&Found.
Some of the most revolutionary art movements and artists will attest to this theme, this rebellion against established ideas of idealised perfection. However, we turned to these seven artists, who were part of this night, to ask them one fundamental question: How did they find beauty in imperfection?
The Big Eyed Collagist is not just a mere stage name, but an indeterminable identity to contradict our largely gender-biased society. It is almost a rebellion against the acceptable standards of perfection expected out of people. The figures in the collages are dressed androgynously, to transcend any gender expectations. The objective is to evoke and provoke preconceived notions of gender.
The collages I make emerge from chaos and clutter of broken images, which I cut and distort from pre-existing and so-called 'perfect' images. I like to see how beautiful compositions can come from these images.
Through the series of works exhibited at the show, I want to depict human portraits in distorted forms and with varied feelings. Every aspect of human experience - through feeling, thoughts and emotions - acts as a vortex which allows beauty to evolve further.
My work has always revolved around the human body, and always explores human intimacy and discomfort. The bodies I draw/paint are sometimes anthropomorphic, sometimes half-man half-woman, and, at times, a beautiful human form. It's a reminder that whatever kind of body we have, it is our best weapon, and it must be cherished in any form. In this way, I endeavour to break the taboos of body consciousness. It is the differences, the odds and ends, the strange marks, and the quirks, that makes a person attractive.
I believe beauty is very arbitrary and subjective. I like to distort and combine different imagery in my drawings, even when they might not necessarily fit well, and may seem macabre or discomforting at times.
My practice revolves around the idea of finding beauty in the incomplete and the imperfect. I try to make sense of the abundant influx of information, that we have in today's times, by using flatter tones of colour, and a vagabond, yet childlike, quality to my line. Fantasy becomes my way out of reality, and also my reflection on it.
The idea of the Japanese aesthetic of wabi sabi, finding beauty in the inconspicuous, the unconventional and the imperfect, is a very strong part of my paintings. I constantly try to find the perfect balance between white space and colour, impulse and control, shadow and light, but I find that the splashes, and the inadvertent marks and drips are the most beautiful.
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