Wednesday, October 19, 2016


There are two memorable and distinctly different exhibitions on at NGMA for a short while.
The first exhibition is a sensitive glimpse into the life of Mahatma Gandhi through the lens of  Kanu Gandhi; sepia studies in spirituality and haunting simplicity. One looks at these images with reverence not just because of the subject but the way the pictures were taken. Kanu Gandhi might have used a very basic camera, but he seems to have had an almost intuitive understanding of composition. The drama that is captured is subtle and sophisticated - a thin almost imperceptible curve of light highlights the rim of the Mahatma's glasses in a composition of muted shapes - circle of head against white of shawl; a soft line of light lights up Gandhi's outstretched arm reaching out to receive a donation from the window of a train; the chiaroscuro of Mahatma Gandhi reading in the light of a lamp at 4am is worthy of an etching by Rembrandt. Through these pictures one is astounded at the utter simplicity of Mahatma Gandhi's life. The gravity of what the man achieved in such an unassuming manner is evoked powerfully and with dignity in these beautiful photographs taken by his grandnephew.

 The next exhibition could not be more different than the previous one. While one stood before Kanu Gandhi's pictures as one does in a church, Ramachandran's paintings blow the mind with their joy, exuberance, color and celebration right from canvas one.Till now I had admired the artist's line work and compositions through small images in books and even smaller images on the net but nothing prepared me for what I saw in real before me.You want to dive into these spectacular pictures and be a part of the life there. That is how beautiful they are. There is no abstraction to decipher, no angst that pervades contemporary art, no deep messages to mull over, instead there is just good, wholesome,luscious drawing. And color. The kind of color one experiences in warm, diffused winter sunlight in Bangalore which turns everything golden and mellow. Then you leave the show feeling that life is good and beautiful and all is still right with the world.

No comments: