Triveni Kala Sangam displays veteran painter Ramachandran's gallery
Veteran painter and Padma Bhushan recipient A. Ramachandran, who departed from the 'political' in art on the belief that artists make "rasgullas" out of "grotesque" political events, is exhibiting a painting series at the Triveni Kala Sangam here, starting Tuesday.
Organised by Vadehra Art Gallery, the solo show displays a series of drawings and paintings -- "The Changing Mood of the Lotus Pond" -- by the noted painter, whose rich artistic oeuvre started when his anger flowed out on his canvases.
"When I started, my early works were highly political. My anger was pouring into my works; It was a natural tendency. Now, from an angry young man, I went to (being) a happy old man. I started questioning the political paintings and am totally convinced that political paintings are only journalism," the 84-year-old told IANS.
Kerala-born Ramachandran, who has painted human suffering and grim historic occurrences like the Nazi concentration camp and World War atrocities, recalled the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that had an indelible impact on him.
"I saw it from my (east Delhi house) rooftop. There were 20 people chasing a 'sardarji' and killing him. That gave me such a terrible reaction.
"These events are so grotesque; We make 'rasgullas' out of them. Painting is ultimately a beautiful object. Because it has certain qualities of beauty, that is why we recognise it as a work of art, otherwise it will only be a chair or a table." he opined.
"Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' is far greater than Pablo Picasso's 'Guernica' (a painting on war tragedies), because it has no message. The lack of message itself is a quality of a great work of art."
By 1980s, the veteran artist had shifted his artistic focus to temple murals in Kerala and village life.
Capturing the various moods and appearances of a lotus pond, his 7-part painting series took birth in the hinterland around Rajasthan's Udaipur.
As per Ramachandran, art also causes varied reactions for people.
"When I first exhibited this series in Jehangir Art Gallery, there was a huge lotus pond painting. A young, married couple came and asked if they could take their marriage photograph against it. I told them to go ahead," he said.
"I won't give an intellectual talk about lotus being an ancient motif; I don't talk all this nonsense. I leave it for people to look at it, and enter into it. When they enter into it, I have written so many essays explaining my point of view.
"That is for those people, who are academically interested to understand my work. Those who don't want to can casually look at it. If you get one or two minutes of happiness, I'm happy. If you don't, well, too bad for me."
The exhibition will be open for public viewing till December 2. Entry is free.
(With inputs from agencies.)