Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day Seven- Ship of Fools comes back to Dock- Manjunath Kamath

(No Logic Please- Manjunath Kamath wears his message on his back)

Today is the last day. Manjunath Kamath walks in. His face shows no trace of anxiety. However he has become a man of few words. I have been observing this transition of the artist from a very talkative person to a contemplating one. He wears a self-designed T-shirt and on its back it is written, ‘No Logic Please’. Yes, some of the visitors have been asking all these days about the logic of each image. Tired of answering them, today he wants to tell the world that this project is not about logic. It is about spontaneity.

“I was cool in the first two days,” while sipping a glass of hot water Manjunath tells me. “But on the third day onwards, I can tell you for sure that I lost my sleep. The moment I close my eyes and drift between sleep and delirium, images come before my eyes. No…not images.. some visions…from holes hands come out and hold me tight as if they were trying to strangulate me. I want to push them away, but they demand to be represented and I don’t have any choice,” he says.

I understand him perfectly. I too have been passing through the same phase. For the last seven days I have been living with these images and I too have been drifting in a pool of delirium.

Manjunath starts the day by attending the ‘Carnival of Hidden Terror’, which has been screaming out for a conclusion ever since the goat image appeared on the wall on the first day. This Brughelesque procession, this ultimate pageant of mild terrors has to invest its energy somewhere. Manjunath takes up his brush. He starts from the edge of the wall, moves towards the floor and further makes incursions to the right and the images at the narrowing end auto-create a machine that has the look of a mechanical hand with a pointed finger. It touches the finger of a hooked and packed man sitting on a chair, facing this procession. A Michael Angelo moment; God creating man. The fingers almost touch each other. Here the hooded man is about to give life to this display of beautified aggression. Our world today.

(Final view of the 'Carnival of Hidden Terrors'

The artist goes down to create a reflection of ‘Cloud of Hands’ on the floor.

(Cloud of Hands spreading down on the floor)

Manjunath feels a certain urge to draw something more on the floor. He makes a circular white patch and he paints hands coming out and interlocking each other. Manjunath gives a visual expression to the dream that has been haunting him for the last few days. This image looks like a fresco painted on the ceiling now seen reflected on the floor. A Renaissance moment.

(A Dream that has been haunting Manjunath since the third day of the project)

The CNN-IBN team makes Manjunath to perform a bit for the camera. The reluctant artist literally slips away from the camera’s gaze and the crew waits patiently till the artist comes back to draw.

(This one for CNN-IBN)

The artist had drawn a slanting line on the fourth day and made the suggestions of it turning into a bathtub. The only image left to be finished today is this one. Manjunath starts working on it. A king in the garb of a clown appears at the lowered end of the bathtub. His collar is hooked by a gloved hand, which is coming out of a fishing line held by another king/clown at the raised end of the tub, from where the soft pipes are tumbling out. Bald men poking fingers into others’ nostrils turn their attention to the king and come forward to push their fingers into the king’s nostrils. The tub looks like a ship sailed by two fools. “It is as in those old stories. The citizens are pushing fingers into each other’s nostrils. The king feels that he should also experience it so he allows his citizens to do it to him. But even the king is controlled by some other force from behind,” says Manjunath. A political allegory for our times.

(Ship of Fools comes Back to the Dock)

“Fourteen years back, Husain saab (MF Husain) had promised me that he would do a wall project for Gallery Espace. But things couldn’t happen thanks to various reasons you know. Today, in Kamath, I feel it is realized,” says a happy Renu Modi, director of Gallery Espace.

(a Happy Renu Modi, director of Espace Gallery sharing a light moment with Sunaina Anand, director Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi)

Tomorrow (26th August 2010), we have the Open day of the project. Still people pour in today too; family, friends and well wishers.

(Manjunath and friends)

(Somu Desai presenting a gift to Manjunath)

(Manjunath with Anita Dube and Arunkumar HG)

(Art and Deal managing editor Rahul Bhattacharya with a friend)

(Artists Alok Bal and Babu Eshwar Prasad)

(Renu Modi, Surya Kamath and her friend)

(Manjunath Kamath with Mr.Kamath Senior)

( A Proud father- Manjunath's father in the gallery)

(Senior artist Manu Parekh with Manjunath)

(Manjunath's daughters Manya (L) and Aadhya (Ex.Right) with their friend in the middle)

(Mrinal Kulkarni, JohnyML and Babu Eshwar Prasad)

(Artist Abhimanue VG and Family)

(Somu Desai, Pratul Dash, Alok Bal, Babu Eshwar Prasad and JohnyML)

(Manjunath with his young friends from Delhi College of Art)

Gallery Espace team has been wonderful.

(L to R- Kiran Sachdeva, Neelam Sinha, Manoj Kumar, Pawan Kumar Rana and Dinesh)

(Sreenivas, Manoj Kumar and Pawan Rana)

(Kamlesh Srivastava, Lok Bahadur and Mahinder ji- L to R)

(Balagopal, the artist who documented the project, Manjunath's Man Friday)

Here is your artist, Manjunath Kamath in his various moments of relief, contentment and happiness. He has all the reasons to be happy.

(Manjunath Kamath)

And I personally invite you to come for the open day today (as you read it today- Thursday, 26th August 2010) at 6 pm.

Blogging all these days on this project has been a great experience for me. I thank you all for following these posts, for sending me messages, commenting on the post both in the blog and in Face Book, for buzzing me up to congratulate not only me but also the artist and also for telling the world that you dared all adverse traffic conditions to come to the gallery because after reading these posts, one couldn’t have resisted the desire to visit the project. Thank you very much, you, the wonderful reader, thank you for making me feel that I am ‘spiritual collaborator’ in Manjunath Kamath’s ‘Conscious-Sub-Conscious’ project.

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