• September 29, 2020 5:14 pm

Reporting From Delhi


ByProma Chakraborty

Jan 10, 2019


Most viewers at art galleries are guilty of taking a hurried look at the works on display, sparing not more than a few seconds at best until something striking catches their attention. In an attempt to change the way people engage with art, here’s an exhibition that brings art in a book.

‘The Art Book Exhibition’, brings together the work of seven artists that can be held in one’s hand. “Looking at an artwork up close in the form of a book, rather than hung on a wall from a distance, provides one an opportunity to observe nuances and details that might otherwise be missed. An artwork that takes the form of a book compels us to engage with it for days or even months, resulting in a more tactile, intimate experience,” reads a note.

Showcasing their work in an artbook format for the first time, the artists have come up with their own unique themes. While some of the works are inspired by classic and popular literature, poetry, history or myth, it does not necessarily illustrate the text. The works revolve around the subject matter, with the artists expressing their own takes on the thoughts or philosophy expressed by the authors in a loose, tangential manner. The artist’s book has an autonomy of its own as an independent work of art.

Allowing the audience to engage with the book through multiple sensibilities — seeing, reading and touching — each artist has conceived their book in distinct styles. Bright and vivid colours in artist Jai Zharotia’s acrylic work spill out of the pages. His protagonist, Luqman Ali, is inspired by a fictional character penned by a well-known Hindi poet. Artist Gouri Vemula chose to work on the Mahabharata. Her work, unlike Jai’s, is void of any bright colours and is based on grey tones.

Another artist, Rajesh Deb, uses roughly textured paper with uneven edges that gives the book a used look. He has created large, three-dimensional ‘sculpture books’ made of acrylic and etched with text and images, which are based on diverse themes, ranging from Aristophanes’ The Frog, to the life of Gandhi and nonsense rhymes with reference to Rabindranath Tagore.

Creating another sculpture book, artist Kavita Jaiswal’s four-folding book features white lines flowing on a black surface, providing 3-D corners to turn around on and come back to the same spot.

Responding to more of immediate daily realities, artist Kanchan Chander’s book has become a diary of her lived experiences through the months of its making, with 50 drawings depicting her various moods. On the other hand, artist Ravinder Dutt feels a sense of alienation from the contemporary reality around him and sees himself in the role of a time traveller, collecting memories and objects and converting them into fantasies and desires.
Sunanda Khajuria’s two accordion format books focus on perspectives and dimensions of the cherry blossom, “using it as a symbol for life and death — a visual reminder that our lives, too, are fleeting,” she explains.

Alongside the specially created artists’ books, the exhibition also includes works of veteran artists Gulam Mohammed Sheikh and Rini Dhumal. Contemporary artist Sweety Joshi’s two installation works using books have also been added.

The art books are on display till January 27 at Triveni Kala Sangam.