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Biswajit Balasubramanian
Biswajit Balasubramanian
Biswajit Balasubramanian
Biswajit Balasubramanian
Rm Palaniappan
Rm Palaniappan
Rm Palaniappan
Rm Palaniappan
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Present in the Past

Curated by Shalini Biswajit, Artist and Director Forum Art Gallery, Chennai

For the past three consecutive years, Forum Art Gallery has participated in The Madras Week celebrations by showcasing the works of emerging and established artists inThe Madras Canvas, an exhibition of paintings sculpture photography and cartoon art that has given a platform to some of the most creative talents of the city.

The Madras Canvas went international when it was exhibited at The India Cultural Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in March 2010.

Yet again in celebration of The Madras Week in August 2010, Forum Art Gallery in association with Taj Mount Road presents 'Present in the Past' an exhibition of artworks that explore the way the past and present impacts on the art forms, with its unique dialogue and inference. The curation takes a cue from the city of Madras, whose present is rooted in the past and yet both the past and  the present is in the future. This is the essence of the show.

The 10 artists navigate through time peeling and exposing the layers of the past and present. A.V Ilango’s bovine creatures that roam the streets today were also the muse of Lord Krishna in an era pungent with spiritualism and verve. The same lord Krishna in a modern day garb comes fitted with the gadgets that drive the world in Biswajit Balasubramanian’s  humour laced cartoon art. Charmingly simple, it seems that the divine has finally struck a chord with the common man and his pursuit of identification with the divinity within.

C.Douglas questions the psyche of a female mind trapped in a space that is restrictive and stifling with limited scope for movement in thought and action, an antithesis to the modern femme fatale, a figure that defies all norms and set rules. His present day Woman aspires to spread her wings yet under the shelter and protection of the umbrella, to fly though with caution, reflecting a mind today that has the freedom to rationalize and explore.

K.Muralidharan is perpetually preoccupied with the modern version of the Diva, the goddess that invokes the same devotion as the one that resides in the temples of worship. This compliments the calendar lookalikes of Gurunathan whose divine doll has the charm and poise of a woman hand in glove in a world of ethereal dreams and harsh realities.  

Sunderaraju has scripted a language that is readable only to him .The hieroglyphic expression, a tool of the past embeds the Woman of the present, in a fiction that drapes the female energy with passion and spins a tale of mystery and enigma.

Lines that speak the minimal, a civilization that finds expression in ‘less is more’ is Rm.Palaniappan’s  ‘past’ that lays the route of an artistic highway of sorts in the ‘present’ cementing the road for a yin and yang of ideal existence that is driven home loud and clear. It correlates with the masculine and feminine synergy in Karthik Ilango’s photographs that role play Shiva as the destructor and Shakthi the preserver. In the present day scenario both are metaphors. While one represents global warming and environmental degradation, the other calls for immediate action and attention.

Shalini Biswajit landscapes the fragmented past with the chaotic new, that seemingly complement each other in a setting that is self descriptive. The work shoots the photographic memory of the past and defines the confines the future has in a shifting global climate.

Bo. Shailesh has succumbed to the yogic mantra that is chanted in our country from time immemorial, the one that is synonymous with an Indian’s way of life. His quest for internal harmony seeks to exhibit the external preoccupation of modern day guru’s that hold the mind spell bound in a yogic trance that is in sync with mother India, eternally the land of spiritual opportunity and quest.

T.S. Eliot in the first of his 4 quartets in Burnt Norton writes,

Time present and time past

Are both perhaps present in time future,

And time future contained in time past.

If all time is eternally present

All time is unredeemable.

There are no boundaries in a timeline that is drawn with neither a beginning nor an end. The overlapping of layers peeled over and over again reveal an interesting story of a continuous saga that is present in the past and is forever eternal.



Curatorial note / Press Release

Present in the past

An exhibition of
Paintings, Photographs & Cartoons
Biswajit Balasubramanian, C.Douglas, G.Gurunathan, A.V.Ilango, Karthik Ilango, K.Muralidharan, Rm.Palaniappan, Bo.Shailesh, Shalini Biswajit, R.Sundara Raju