Postmedium in Bangladesh context : Black & White at Santaran
Rosalind Krauss, in A Voyage in the North Sea: Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition (2000) 'used the term “post-medium” to describe the decline of the Greenbergian concept of medium-specificity.' It was a way for her to recognize the tenor of the late Modern era when boundaries separating the disciplines began to collapse. Santaran's workshop at Gallery Charja, under the rubric, Project Black & White, where participants were required to abandon the medium-specific methods in favour of crossing disciplines, occasioned a moment of aesthetic transgression. The current yields from the method of dovetailing two divergent conduits – namely, painting and photography – may not be of top ranking specimens with the potential to attract international attention, but is a beginning for its members and additional participants to find a new threshold through which to explore new languages.
Though, Santaran's Black & White situated the contemporary predisposition for crossdisciplinarity in a specific framework, among six participants Sazid-ul Haque, Moung Shying-u-Marma, and Farah Naz Moon aptly demonstrated the de-aestheticizing principle involving strategies of making photographic images integral to image-making. The rest of the participants – Abdullah-al-Reza, Mehrun Akter, Musrat Jahan Hossan – were hard-put to let go of the traditional process where 'touch of the hand' is considered sacred, as such essential. Akter even skirts round the main theme which demands a merger between photography and drawing, thereby extending her processual experiment to an altogether different direction yielding interesting results.
In consort with today's cultural mix and paradigmatic fluidity, artists making attempt at deploying strategies to overcome the disciplinary limits are often focused on giving rise to 'combines'. Therefore, what is significant in the ever-shifting turf of image-making is the link between the 'personal' narration and the projection of the 'pan-aesthetical'.
Perhaps, Sazid-ul-Haque comes off as something of a neoteric in this having successfully accomplished such syncretism, as has Mehrun Akter on a different register. Akter does it by laying down another layer of codes related to cultural inheritance lifted directly from the tradition of boyon shilpo, or the art of sewing.
In subsequent projects following its inception in 1999, Santaran artists have already demonstrated the zeal for strategies that enable a contemporaneity often codified in a wide range of lexicons. The successful launch of their own space, Gallery Charja, is a testament to their resolve to continue with their past efforts. Through this current project, this young artists' collective seeks to leave a trail across the aesthetic landscape, not just as aficionados of experimental art, but as the transmitter of new knowledge.
– DEPART DESK
PHOTOS COURTESY: SANTARAN