"Framing the Framed: Stripping of Uniforms and giving them Jackfruit Leaves" Solo Exhibition by P. G. Dinesh at Art Konsult, 23, Hauz Khas Village > 12th-22nd November 2011

Time : 11:00 am - 7:00 pm0 - Exhibition on View

Entry : Free

Place : Art Konsult, 23, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi-110016
Venue Info : www.artkonsult.com | Map | Nearest Metro Station - 'Green Park'
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Event Details : Art Konsult presents 'Framing the Framed: Stripping of Uniforms and giving them Jackfruit Leaves' Solo Exhibition by P. G. Dinesh.
After a successful exhibition in Singapore at Indigo Blue PG Dinesh’s works now at art Konsult, New Delhi.
“My working methodology is very intuitive. There are no preparatory drawings or sketches but intuition governs the forms and characters that take up the space on my canvas.  A conditioned quality of emotions, expressing varied messages is bought forth to my canvas filtered through many parameters that are either my surroundings that I have internalized through time or a comment on the external reality that affects me or on which I would like to use my art to present a narrative based commentary.”
P.G.Dinesh’s works as irreverent takes on social hierarchies and representations.
India’s one of the fairly appreciated contemporary artists, P.G.Dinesh, ever since the establishment of his career as a regular(ly) exhibiting artist has been marked for his sense of humour, scathing and irreverent takes on societal stereotypes and excellent use of traditional painting techniques and individual craftsmanship. Dinesh’s reservoir of images is located at the abundance of folklores, myths and traditional and contemporary story telling styles prevalent in the larger landscape called India. This widely travelled artist has gathered enough visual references during his research oriented journeys along the length and breadth of the country and has become successful in incorporating the elements of narrative techniques predominantly used in the popular prints, calendars, bazaar oriented art works, which have now become a major source and repository for the cultural studies fashioned in and around the construction of Indian popular cultures.
Popular culture is a major discourse, which has a destabilizing and critical attitude towards the affected high culture and this particular discourse has been vying for attention during the past few decades in India and only during the post-modern times that became a reality during 1990s, the contemporary artists, writers and other thinkers could take it up and place it in the general cultural discourse of the country. Dinesh was one of the artists who came to the scene during the 90s who could debate the issue of the ‘popular versus the high modern’ through a new visual vocabulary. The critical possibilities of this language was initially discarded by the mainstream critics calling it as a derivative of Surrealism without heeding to the finer aspects that the artists of Dinesh’s ilk were trying to establish, analyse and critique.
Born in Kerala, Dinesh after his formal education at the Trissur Fine Arts College, initiated himself into a language, which was humorously irreverent as he found this a potential tool to critique the behavioural patterns of the Indian middle class; its ceaseless efforts to place itself in the right locations, right citizenry and while trying hard to hide its avarice and perversions upholding the moral uprightness for its own sake. These double standards and the troubles that they beget for themselves became one of the starting points for Dinesh and also in the process he realized how the citizens in a country even while rooted to its mythical past and tradition want to place themselves in the happy picture frame formats defined by the idea of ‘modernity.’ And undoubtedly, he realized how power whether it was dictatorial, democratic, militaristic or cultural, played a major role in shaping up the lives of the people in a country like India.
Today, in the present suite of paintings one comes to see the major directions that Dinesh has taken so far in his creative life. In the Family Puranam series, Dinesh enquires the aspect of how the citizens would like to represent themselves in a given socio-political and economic framework. The family portraits have a colonial history in which the families are grouped together to show not only their ethnical traits but also their socio-cultural positions. But when the family itself becomes the agency, disputing the external powers, a family portrait becomes emblematic of the ‘desired’ position that the family unit as a whole wants to takes in the society within the given time and location. This generic representational discourse, for Dinesh is an oft-repeated strategy of the society, mutually endorsing the power of the state in the individuals’ life and the individuals’ right to claim a part and legacy of the state. This confirmed discourse of mutuality between the state and the citizen is multiplied, amplified and proliferated in various mediums including the popular calendars and advertisements.
Taking such representational strategies as the point of departure, Dinesh critically subverts the clichéd and stereotypical postures of the family members by attributing each of them with the traits of animals and birds, which symbolically gives the suggestion that the person represented so must be having such traits. This is where the idea of modern representation meets up with the representations in both the folklores and mythologies where animals and human beings interact more or less in an equal level. In this realm of visual thinking and literary and oracular narratives, animals too are invested with the power of ‘speech’, which makes them not only to represent themselves but also speak out their unhindered inner views on the world. In this zone of interface, Dinesh firmly posits his critique of the middle class, though clad in fineries, seen with their hidden characteristics revealed. Dinesh very skillfully incorporates the necessary attributes in a popular calendar such as a receding landscape, a few putties around and so on within these family portraits in order to give them a mock divinity, acceptance and position within the mainstream visual discourse, which is often taken for granted.
While ‘happy family’ is one theme that drives Dinesh’s creative interventions strong, he does not leave the hidden and revealed power structures that exist in our society in different dimensions, planes and hues. Dinesh turns his attention to another set of socio-political stereotypes that is the uniformed people in the society. In his ‘Uniform Series’, Dinesh addresses the notion of uniform through the presence of uniformed people within a civil society, in which the ordinary citizens are not allowed to wear uniforms. However, the works reveal the possibilities of every citizen showing the possibilities of donning uniforms. Though Dinesh does not invest his energies in portraying ordinary office goers, security guards, post men, courier boys, corporate workers (who all in fact have uniforms in their work situations), his world of uniformed people, often military , religious and political leaders, does have the possibilities of absorbing every citizen into the code of uniforms through subjection.
Subjection, active or passive, is a way of the state carefully exercised on people in order to keep them under check from rebelling and the state hand in gloves with religious establishments and policing facilities, exercises its power of controlling. The very presence of a uniformed person in the society gives him a distinct identity. But in Dinesh’s works these uniformed people evoke laughter as they in their uniforms show what really they are. They get transformed into various funny and ferocious animals and Dinesh, through this attribution of animal characters once again brings the folklores, fables and mythologies as points of reference where each animal shows both wisdom and ignorance as per the narrative. This constant transformation of the people from their uniformed selves into emblematic and iconic characters (as in the case of the portraits of the religious and political leaders in our everyday lives) reminds the viewer of the precariousness of their own position before the actuality of these referred personalities and types.
Dinesh, in his critique is not opportunistic; all the social types come to his purview and even religion, one of the most sensitive life themes in India, also find its own share of critique in Dinesh’s works. He employs the traditional and conventional painterly techniques (as in triptych) to evoke the seriousness of religious themes as narrated on the walls of the temples or churches all over the world. He does a humorous simulation of visual narratives that in their original forms are intended to evoke piety and awe, but here evokes critical thoughts not only about the narrated theme but about the foundational principles that had caused such narratives.
In his ‘Tongue in Cheek’ series, Dinesh directly refers to the middle class men, who like the men in the traditional Kalighat paintings are the embodiment of treachery, avarice and gluttony. But they show a very pious face; like a cat that had just eaten a fish stolen from the kitchen. The metaphorical overtones are though subdued here in Dinesh’s works, one could see him raising the middle class man into an iconic status with his contemporary attributes like dark goggles, three piece suit and so on, by placing their larger than life heads on to decorative lotus motifs as if they were godheads often represented so in the popular calendars in India. This iconic character is at once deconstructed within the visual construction by placing elements like a crown made out of stitched jackfruit tree leaves on the head of a man in a three piece suit.
Dinesh is not blasphemous; he is just irreverent to the point of criticism. Being irreverent is a way to justify one’s own existence as a critical and creative being. This attitude just does not negate what had been done by the predecessors both known and unknown in the scene of visual culture production. Instead, Dinesh receives them, gets inspired by them and makes use of them as his potential references to create his own art, which as we have seen is relevant to our discourse of contemporary visual culture.

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"Framing the Framed: Stripping of Uniforms and giving them Jackfruit Leaves" Solo Exhibition by P. G. Dinesh at Art Konsult, 23, Hauz Khas Village > 12th-22nd November 2011 "Framing the Framed: Stripping of Uniforms and giving them Jackfruit Leaves" Solo Exhibition by P. G. Dinesh at Art Konsult, 23, Hauz Khas Village > 12th-22nd November 2011 Reviewed by DelhiEvents on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 Rating: 5

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