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Archaic forms create wonder art in the e-Age
NIDHI GUPTA  30th Sep 2012

he prefix 'post-' has been used in the worlds of academics and art to notate not only a rupture on the time-space axis, but also as an indication to reject, or at least a challenge, all that has gone before. In a new trend-spotting initiative, art historian and curator Rahul Bhattacharya has taken on the burgeoning use of new media in contemporary art by coining the term 'post-digital', as part of a new exhibition on in the capital.

Titled 'New Direction is Old Media: Post-conceptual Journeys', this show exhibits the works of six young artists who have continued working with paint, etching, film and cloth at a time when laptops, projectors and wires have become an essential part of contemporary art installations. The show has been curated in such as manner as to say: their materials might be out of fashion, but their thought belongs firmly to the  21st Century.

"These six artists' work spoke to me on three levels – one, there is a very visible notion of labour in all their works, which is hard to find abroad. Secondly, these are artists who have stuck with these 'archaic' forms just for the love of it – and are re-inventing them today. And finally, all of them are essentially outside the rat-race. Their work isn't being bought up in bulk by trading houses, but they're creating art that I thought deserves to be showcased across homes too," elucidates Bhattacharya.

Their work isn’t being bought up in bulk by trading houses, but they’re creating art that I thought deserves to be showcased across homes too

The medium of expression aside, the show is also a critique of analogue and linear concept in art. Vidisha Saini's photo-series, Mulberry Trees, spies upon toy animals drowning in a wash basin clogged with hair, tiger balloons deflated and bleeding and an inflatable Spiderman hiding in some bushes; in the process, looking at how restrained attitudes in an ever-changing society could look like when unleashed. Nidhi Khurana uses embroidery, cloth and stitched frames to etch out a colourful version of the constellation Andromeda and a skylight.

Mansi Trivedi's etchings, engravings and lithography are a personal reflection on pain, pleasure, hiding and thought. Preeti Agarwal's 'Polished Beauty-2' is a wood-cut canvas, erecting three life-size women from different cultures. Syed Taufik Raza's painting 'Bengal Burning' stands out as a stark, abstract landscape of a land consumed by the violence of poverty.

"These artists come from a time when Photoshop is an indispensable tool to lob off things unappealing and impose others artificially. But they're bored of this culture. I feel this will turn into a larger tide of change in the way contemporary art is defined," says Bhattacharya.

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