Monday, March 22, 2010

Speakspace: Poetry from South Africa

 Two poems by Lebogang  Mashile, one of South Africa's most beloved poets.

Sonatina Mendes

                                             You and I 

You and I
We are the keepers of dreams
We mould them into light beams
And weave them into life's seams

You and I
Know life is not what it seems
We strip the fat from the lean
And find the facts in between
The visions we redeem
And the agony of choice
Yours is just a mind 
And mine,just a voice
But when we love
We love with a heat that rises like a song in flight
On the flesh of our backs
If it's love that we lack
Then we walk through indescision fading in fright
We ride the crest of intuition on the journey of this life

And by the hands of the infinite we hear the cries of rest
Weighed down by their intelligence submitting to this test
But you and I 
Push the boundary of reason
You and I 
Plot the mystery of seasons

You and I 
Paint this history to free men
Nothing can be stopped like you and I 

You and I
 We are the keepers of dreams 
We mould them into light beams
And weave them into life's seams

Still from the film "Cries and Whispers" by Ingmar Bergman

The green of words

I hear the sound of my mind
In darkness peppered with oceanic rumbles
Deeper than history
Lighter than air

An awakened mind is the thief of my sleep
I yawn,
Shake off the dust of ''slam poetry'' expectations
And relive the green of words
Where the world is no obstacle to my desire

The bold quiet honours me as midwife to poetry
Interpretations of the sliced days
That pass through this body

The dangerous safety of lined paper beckons
I hear myself respond
Seduced by the storyteller
I am inspiration

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Speakspace: Calibration

Every now and then, I feel the need to look at art that doesn't necessarily fall within the linguistic lineage that I draw from; like the diverse circle of friends I have in my life. I delight in the surprises that unfold through these virtual wanderings. I am often reminded of a small self-portrait painted by Jackson Pollock sometime in the 1930s, which I first saw at a Jackson Pollock retrospective in Venice in 2002, while I was touring Italy as a student. Although his abstract expressionistic action paintings will always be among my favourite artworks, the intensity of the gaze in this small painting has been etched in my mind very vividly. 

Short-cuts to information or abridged history lessons often mask the interesting routes in the development of artistic languages by creating stereotypes within art history. Here are some works that have either been from the formative periods of artistic journeys or are departures from what they have otherwise known to be identified by.

V.S. Gaitonde  Serigraphy  1989

Arpita Singh  Bottles Oil on canvas 1969

Diego Rivera Woman at Well Oil on canvas 1913

Jackson Pollock Self Portrait 1931-35?

Mark Rothko  Slow Swirl  1944

Malavika Rajnarayan

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy Women's Day!

Photograph of the Guerrilla Girls

Theen Tamasha wishes all the women in the world a very Happy Women's Day!! 
Thought -provoking  creativity, what we know as ART, dos not need a luxurious environment or a degree. Rather, it takes talent, and the willingness to notice the world around you, and it is born by connecting with people, environments, and who we are.

Zanele Muholi, South African  artist, 'Young, Black , and Gifted Womyn', Behind the Mask website, 26 January 2004.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Speakspace: Thickly quoted!

Art has always had a continuous engagement with history. Some works of art (music and literature included) may choose to quote history in direct ways and infuse it with irony while others may use history as points of departure to then elaborate upon and lead us to other imaginative worlds. The remix fever that has gripped a large portion of our popular culture started four or five decades ago with the early inventions of the editable magnetic tapes which allowed for a rearrangement of existing music using technology. This was also the time that saw the beginnings of Pop art in America and subsequently in Europe. Artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Leichtenstein, Richard Hamilton and Jasper Johns began to explore visuals produced through mediums of mass communication, to quote or to adopt linguistic idioms.

Hold Your Horses is a Franco-American Band who have recently made a wacky video that recreates art-history. Check out their video

Shibu Natesan Jah Love Oil on canvas 2005

Patrick Caulfield  Cafe Sign  Screen Print 1968

Andy Warhol 32 Campbell's Soup Cans Silkscreen on canvas 1962

Richard Hamilton What is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? Collage 1956

Vivek Vilasini Between One Shore and Several Others (After Richard Hamilton's 'Just what is it...') Photomontage 2008

Malavika Rajnarayan

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Speakspace: Interaction with students in Bangalore

I presented a slide lecture at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bangalore last morning to a group of undergraduate students from the final year and post graduate students. Having already shown them a selection of my works a couple of years ago, I chose to put together art works from contemporary art-history to create a context of lineages, connections and points of historical interest that could perhaps form an aegis for viewing my work. Here are some of my favourites. Click on the links for more information about the artists.

Lorna Simpson   Waterbearer  gelatin silver print, vinyl lettering, photograph   1986

Shirin Neshat Whispers Ink on silver gelatin print 1997

Sudhir Patwardhan Difficulty in Telling the Truth Acrylic on canvas 2005

Nilima Sheikh About Season - 6 Tempera on pasted paper on board 1986

N.S.Harsha Poetics of Cosmic Orphans Acrylic on canvas 2006

Mona Hatoum Keffiyeh 1993-99

Nicola Durvasula The Design of Accessories and Untitled  Pencil and gouache 2006

Malavika Rajnarayan