Archive for May, 2009

With Indian Art touching new levels every day and Indian artists getting increasingly appreciated for their work in India and abroad………a question many a times pervades my mind and disturbs my thoughts;

Burgeoning art lovers as these are………they can make very little distinction between a great and a mediocre art; to distinguish a meaningful art and a mere decoration piece is also difficult for them. They are not able to appreciate art as it is…………“art” in the form as it should be.

Let me take a work of Mr. M. F. Hussain, a very renowned name in Indian art and also known much more for his controversial works, to express my viewpoint.

Without hurting the sentiments of all religious groups and people who are protesting against works of the artist…………I personally share a slightly different opinion on Hussain’s work “Saraswati”.

The work, to me, is a predominant depiction of a skillful combination of art, science and culture. Quoting an eminent contemporary artist Paras Dasot “When an artist delves deep in his creation then everything else except his ‘art’ and ‘soul’ tend to loose their meaning….the confluence of which leads to creation of a beautiful artwork”. Hussain seems to have created this artwork on the said belief. When Goddess Saraswati, known to be the goddess of art, is deeply lost in art/music then her clothes, her physical presence all loose their meaning. This is mandatory as only then does her dedication to art reach its peak and she attains divinity.”

Apart from using fishes, peacock, lotus as objects to adorn the artwork, Hussain has also used the scientific principle “refraction” in his work. Surprisingly, our values and beliefs seem to be differentiating between a “mother” and a “female” as they point fingers to this artwork. Where on one hand the presence of a bosom completes the portrayal of a ‘mother’ the same is not necessarily true for the sketch of a woman. While we stand to appreciate the beauty of world renowned artworks ”Monalisa” and “Banithani” which merely depict a woman and not a mother, this artwork instead is an artistic depiction of the art goddess as “mother saraswati” and is completely dedicated to art.

Quoting Paras, “nudity, in the context of art, is like having a glimpse of a mother giving birth to a child.” Infact there is a huge difference in the way a doctor/artist perceives “nudity” as against the perception of a common man. Therefore, it is inevitable for a common man/the society to keep this fact in his mind while he tends to critically visualize an artwork. The said truth, if ignored will eventually lead to art losing its associated virtue and in turn the society loses its beloved art.


Shilpi Agarwal

Website: (visit us at this link to witness a spellbinding collection of Indian artworks.)

Note: The author is an art critic and an avid art collector. The views and ideas expressed by her in this article are completely personal to her and she does not intend to hurt any religious/group sentiments or beliefs by writing this article.

MADRID.- The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía presents the first individual exhibition in Spain on the work of artist Paul Sietsema (Los Angeles 1968). The exhibition forms part of Fisuras, a program produced by the Museo Reina Sofía that aims to encourage artists to propose alternative viewpoints on the museum.

Sietsema presents his reflections on practices in modern Western art and its discursive, ideological milieu in an exhibition that brings together large-format drawings as well as his film Figure 3. During the five years required to produce Figure 3, the artist documented the reconstruction of various artifacts from ancient cultures, which have been reconstructed from photographed replicas and made with different materials than their originals. Far from desiring to supplant the original pieces with his works, Sietsema is instead interested in illustrating the passing of time and the conversations established between both representations. The artist has chosen a 16 mm format to film these objects, one that bears an inherent distance when representing and translating them, as well as features known to anthropological documentary, scientific photography and experimental film.

On the other hand, the drawings shown in this exhibition provide references to the artist’s work by illustrating objects from his own workshop, and they suggest reflections on the economic and colonial expansion of the West. They are accompanied by a projection of Lecture Film, where the artist reflects on his work and processes of production.