Archive for May, 2010

London: An iconic life-sized elephant in a crouched position by UK-born Indian sculptor Bharti Kher will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s and is expected to fetch Rs 6.84 crore.

“The Skin Speaks a Language not its Own” is one of the most iconic and talked-about works by Kher, Sotheby’s announced.

Awe-inspiring in its scale, detail and beauty, the life-sized female Indian elephant, will be offered in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on June 28 and is estimated at 700,000-1,000,000 pounds.

“This is a work which took Bharti Kher 10 months to create, every fold and recess of the sunken form is meticulously contoured by the intricately arranged patterns of thousands of bindis that organically swarm across the beast in a second skin.

“It is India’s identity in all its glorious complexities that is the hero of this masterpiece and the sculpture remains a beacon of India’s avant garde art scene at the beginning of the 21st century,” says James Sevier, director and specialist, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department.

Commenting on the sculpture, Zara Porter-Hill, director and head of Sotheby’s Indian Art Department, says “Despite our familiarity with elephants, nothing prepares the viewer for the emotional experience of seeing Kher’s elephant, huge and incongruous in the gallery space.

“With her head resting on her front foot, she is brought down to our level and her glassy black eye entreats a communion and proximity rarely encountered in the wild.”

Brought to its knees in a seemingly untenable position, simultaneously peaceful and painful, “The Skin Speaks a Language not its Own” is a vision that engenders extreme pathos from the viewer; is she rising or is she falling, resting or expiring, living or dying.

Kher combines two symbols of Indian culture, the ‘bindi’ and the elephant, in a powerfully emotive sculpture which leaves the viewer asking whether this is a vision of India on the rise or a country exhausted by its own rapid modernisation.


Composing within a frame

   Posted by: admin    in Art News Updates

A term that we often hear with regards to the visual medium is “composition”. What is composition? Composition is that in which all the visual elements are arranged within an artwork. They can be infinitely varied, but it is possible to make some generalisations.

An important requisite of a good composition is Balance.

Visually imbalanced work makes us feel out of sorts whereas a balanced one will make us feel orderly and composed. Along with this, another important aspect is Unity, which is what all artists strive to achieve in their artwork. The basic human need for a sense of completeness, order, and a feeling of things finished properly form the basis for the use of unity and balance, a prerequisite for good compositions.

A perfect and harmonious balance, which is seen in Greek architecture and Indian art and sculpture, is called Classical Balance. The greatest example of this is the Greek temple of Parthenon on the hill called Acropolis in Athens. The geometric units, the horizontals and verticals are so beautifully balanced that no single form over powers another.

Dynamic Balance is quite the opposite of classical balance.

Here the elements are visually conflicting and many of the artworks depicting emotional, violent, disturbing subjects usually have these dynamic compositions.

The interplay of contrasting features of small and large elements brought together into a harmonious unified whole, it is called Relational Composition. And in art works where it is composed of a single visual element is called Non-relational Composition. The great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt is an ideal representation of the balanced non-relational composition.

Then we have what is called All Over Composition, which is seen in abstract art. A network of lines, colours, merging form and space distributing the visual interest of the painting spread over the space within a frame is all over composition which can be seen in the abstract paintings of Jackson Pollock. Finally, we have the latest form of art is Instillation Art, wherein the whole environment is also incorporated into the composition to become a part of the work of art.

Composition extends beyond the realm of just visual arts. An arrangement of musical notes in harmonious, rhythmic meter is called Composition. Equally worthy is a play of words by a writer, the choice of elements to be picturised within a frame of a film or an aesthetic arrangement of fruits and flowers by a vendor is also composition.

Finally, even when we see a man who is in complete control of his emotions, totally unruffled by the events happening around him, we call him a calm, composed man.