Unfolding Space 2018

Abstract Show 2018

Jan 18, 2018   |   New Delhi

Artists have never really been comfortable with the word “abstract” when referring to non-figurative art. This term was used even by Wassily Kandinsky, one of the pioneers of this form of artistic expression, in inverted commas. Another pioneer in this field, Kasimir Malevich calls it “the material expression of pure feeling”. Others like Paul Klee saw it in terms of a tree that draws in elements of the soil, the water and minerals, through the roots, but creates a crown that is very different from these. This is not surprising as Naum Gabo states that while science persuades, art acts. So, given the necessity of the construction of an art object with a material form, the term abstract has its problems. These works also involve consciousness, perception, a state of being in an environment and the creation of objects that embody not only the feelings of the artist but have a material existence of their own that goes beyond the artist and develops independent histories over time. Being an object that has a material existence but embodies the feelings, consciousness and skills of an artist, the question of defining it poses many issues that are not easy to comprehend, but artists have done their best to do so. Our modernist non-figurative tradition too, developed its own paths. S.H. Raza, who despite his long stay in Europe, actually appears to have found a far more fertile basis in his artistic development in the formal qualities of our traditional tantric yantras as symbols of concentration, without the ritual and meditational qualities and beliefs associated with tantric thought and practice. Other artists, like G.R. Santosh, a close associate of Raza, and Sohan Qadri blended their works with a deeper knowledge involved in the tantric tradition; but among them too, it is the modernist principles of spontaneity, the physical qualities of forms, colour, texture and their composition in space that predominate in their works and their development.