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Artist-curator Bose Krishnamachari pursues his grand vision
Bose Krishnamachari has been in news again courtesy his recent critically applauded exhibition in Dubai and a two-part exhibition, entitled ‘Her Work is Never Done’ back home in Mumbai.

An established artist, art collector, curator, and a gallerist, he plays different creative roles with élan. Entitled ‘NO’, his latest suite of work showcased at 1x1 Art Gallery re-looks at history in contemporary context. UAE based The National, notes: “Bose Krishnamachar’s work conjures up scenes in a paint factory where the gravity has just been turned off. You would remember it if you received the e-mail press release about it that I did: it bellowed the title of the show in 60pt sans-serif. ‘NO’, it says. The only possible response is YES.”

The series spells out his ideas of self-respect and his concerted desire to defy injustice. According to him, hapless masses led by their idea of social justice inevitably encounter the bitter reality of injustice heaped upon them by hegemonic forces. He tries to reaffirm steely self-respect of a human being, to refuse certain visions and desires he dislikes harboring, or perhaps sharing.

His ‘Stretched Bodies’, a scintillating sequence of psychedelic acrylics, exploding in saturated colors, retains just enough structure to point to an artificial and confused interior space. The artist apparently has been adding more canvases to it for several years, leaving it open as to whether the new additions should be treated merely as contributions to an evolving larger whole or free-standing works.

In ‘Mondrian’s Tree’, he brings to the fore his idea of ‘the East meeting the West’ by opting to engage with Mondrian and Andy Warhol, two legendary icons in the western tradition even while revisiting some of his own inimitable approaches. A Mondrian painting serves as a point of departure to construct a tree that curiously doubles itself as an expressionistic shelf’. The open format as conveyed through some circular paintings juxtaposed with larger, rectangular ones. contiguously hung - to construct a giant frieze enveloping the gallery wall - is a reaction to Piet Mondrian’s rectilinear abstractions.

On the other hand, ‘White Ghost and Red Carpet’, a startling installation work, served as the centerpiece. The Father of the Nation emerges as an apt metaphorical expression of the artist’s restless own self in a diminutive form, against the Mahatma’s monumental portrait. Upholding non-violence, he remains one of the greatest ever conceptual political practitioners, Bose believes. As one can hear the cacophony of confusing statements by today’s leaders, it goes to underline the irony of the situation. The socially sensitive artist emphasizes the fact that art cannot and should not shy away from history. In keeping with this belief, the works refer turbulent history of the contemporary world, signifying justice and injustice, war and peace, relentless fight for equality and for justice.

In a write-up on the eve of his solo show, Ed Lake of The National describes Bose Krishnamachari as ‘a startling, colorful artist’, who also curates exhibitions for other artists - famous and less so - and addresses their work in his own creations. Incidentally, he has curated many significant shows, such as ‘BOMBAY X 17’, ‘Bombay Boys’, ‘DOUBLE-ENDERS’, ‘MaaRKERS’, ‘Af-fair’ and ‘Everything 2008’ and India pavilion at ARCO Madrid 2009. The ‘Panorama: India’ section curated by him offered a fascinating overview of contemporary Indian art.

The multi-faceted artist has further broadened and deepened his curatorial vision with Gallery BMB. The latest group show, entitled ‘Her Work is Never Done’, focuses on the works of young and sometimes emergent women artists. A curatorial note elaborates: “It though, does not attempt to present a comprehensive or truly representative selection of women artists practicing in the country today. Instead, by showcasing an overview of the diverse pluralism in contemporary practices, the show celebrates this rich heterogeneity.”

Working in a post-digital environment where new media has brought about enormous changes in visual perception, Atmaja Manidas, Allison Kudla, Divya Thakur, Koumudi Patil, Mariam Suhail, P.S. Jalaja, Parvathi Nayar, Puja Puri, Remen Chopra, Suchitra Gahlot, Sudipta Das, Sukanya Ghosh, and Siji R Krishnan employ a wide range of styles, with practices rooted variously in graphic design, mass media, architecture, fashion and activism, refusing to be boxed into any reductive categories. This is a young generation of artists working in a global, politically charged environment. They are unafraid to confront the realities of gender-biased socio-cultural mechanisms, subvert stereotypes and challenge calcified conventions.

The series brings together these talented women from diverse backgrounds adopting different creative practices, to overlap them all and present an overview of the diverse pluralism in contemporary practices. ‘Her Work is Never Done’ underlines Bose Krishnamachari’s undisputed position as a visionary curator and creator.