The written art

Amrita Prasad
Friday, 5 January 2018

Aditya Shirke is exhibiting text-based art at a city art gallery titled ‘Progress’

The moment we think of an art gallery, we imagine a place where paintings or sculptures are displayed and visitors admire and asses them. We often associate art with some form or a shape. But have we thought that art can also be experienced in written text?

Artist Aditya Shirke is trying to do precisely this, with his exhibition titled ‘Progress’ at The Monalisa Kalagram, an art space.

Through this art show, Shirke is attempting to reflect on an artist’s role in society. Says he, “This is an experimental show with no artworks as such. But it’s a show that will provoke viewers to think. My motto is to make the audience look at the text in the way they would look at any other piece of art, and try to find meaning in them. This way, an audience becomes a creator of art. There will also be a talk on this subject by artist Raju Sutar, who will give audience an insight into what text art is. There will also be an interactive performance with the audience where I will create an artwork on the spot.”

The show, which was inaugurated on Friday, has text as an art on a five piece site-specific installations. While some of his works will be displayed on the walls at the gallery, others will be shown as installation, with lights adding further effects. The text-based show is considered important for the city’s contemporary art scene and is one of the first major standalone shows to be entirely text based.

Shirke, who has done his Masters in Fine Art from the UK, says, “It is a dramatic departure for me as an artist and a challenging transition in terms of the medium. Despite the shift in the medium, my thoughts and context remains very much the same as seen in my earlier works. ‘Progress’ primarily deals with questions of authorship and the role of the artist in a post social media context.”

Shirke, who is associated with Prafulla Foundation in Mumbai as an art critic, agrees that this concept is not widely-known. “To create an acceptance for text as art was tough and convincing galleries to exhibit them was also a task. In such kind of work, to find a gallery that will host your show, is an uphill task,” says he.

“The narrative is in the form of simple statements, but has layers to it that the viewers must discover themselves. The English text is simple and I’ve deliberately chosen to stay away from quoting poetry or prose. These are statements, inquiring about the role of an artist and mediums,” he adds.

The exhibition will be on from January 6 to 11, 10 am-8 pm at The Monalisa Kalagram, Pingale Farms, end of South Main Road, Koregaon Park

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