DAILY NEWS AND ANALYSIS JUSTIN PONMANY
Saturday, August 05, 2006, DNAINDIA.COM
When art is an interpreter of the media impacting our lives, how influential has technology been in shaping art? On returning from a showing at Art Basel, a major art fair in Switzerland, I reflected that the more forgettable art works were those burdened with the need to entertain.
I was surprised by the attention showered on works that made for easy assimilation, packed with sensationalism or shock value. What was apparent was the lack of distillation or intervention while using new technology, in the keenness to enthrall.
The medium is the message
This may explain the popularity of photorealism, even though some Indian artists use it unmindful of its cultural context.
We live in times where truths or lie-bearing truths are generated by census, statistics and public opinion facilitated by the media. Each technology codifies truth according to its biases.
The directive, then, that artists may see for themselves, is to work through various media against the seduction of eloquence.
Over the years, art has undergone change, thanks partly to technology and ideology. Art works may address technology or the use of technology, which are two different things. Obviously, the servile use of technology is not going to make history.
External aids -
Over a decade ago, Atul Dodiya legitimised the use of a video projector when he used it to render his own shadow in his work titled Letter From a Father.
In more recent times, he has worked with paper technology. In his book Secret Knowledge, David Hockney points to the likelihood of the early masters employing optical aids since the 15th century, to achieve certain results in their work.
Computer graphics is used worldwide to edit preparatory material or forge a specific visual identity, as is evident in Subodh Gupta's Transit series. My own paintings use paint technology to represent a post-laser era, to undermine and question popular associations of holograms.
The hand that rocks the cradle -
Many artists edit out their own intervention as perceived in the final image. At other times, the unmistakable beauty of an artist's genius is palpable, say in a Goya drawing (hand-held intelligence) - almost like a raga swelling through the work.
Mature art lovers don't bother with artists juggling with toys, as artists traverse multiple media - painting, photography sculpture and video.