To see or not to see
In the catalogue published on the occasion of my first solo art exhibition in 2007, I wrote that, 'We, human beings, dwell in the world of “concepts”. These concepts may vary depending on the dimensions of time, space, and person. Some of these last long and some change fast. But whatever form they take after change that also creates another “concept”. Consequently, we cannot free ourselves from the constraints of these concepts. Interestingly we, not only in our own lifetime, but also over generations find comfort in accepting these concepts as 'truth'. Regardless of what is good or bad, right or wrong, true or false, it can be asked whether religion or politics, democracy or socialism, poetry or painting, society or culture, patriotism or an idea of a state, tradition or modernism, development or civilization- are anything but 'concepts'.
My way of thinking/understanding has not changed significantly since then. However, my belief has been further galvanized as a result of discovering the same notion amid diverse phenomena and experiences, recurrently. I have shared this in simple terms earlier...art is the aesthetic expression of concepts that vary in accordance with the different locales they emerge from. Over hundreds and thousands of years, the art that people have been creating in different parts of the world does not bear the same significance and meaning for all. The key reason is that people in different places do not dwell in the same matrix that gives rise to specific 'concepts'. When any work is produced in a certain conceptual realm and after it enters or comes in contact with another conceptual realm then people read/perceive and appraise that work from their respective 'conceptual' stance. As a consequence, those readings quite understandably, differ. Because of this diversity, people's perceived appraisal of the same work can become either positive or negative. When any work created in a certain conceptual framework/canon is being read in light of another canon, then its meaning and significance might be altered. It would not be prudent to expect any veracity that may lie latent in these manifold matrices of contesting realities. It goes without saying that ways of perceiving, reading/seeing in any given context is undeniably a very important determinant.
Everything we 'see' and 'do not see' actually depends on the canon we come to embrace and on the concepts we form. As a result, when we look at/read different works, we often 'see' certain things and sometimes 'do not see' certain other things at the same time. Due to diverse 'conceptual' frameworks, the same work discarded as insignificant by one person can be regarded as important by another viewer. On the flipside, certain works that bear high significance for someone can be perceived as unimportant to someone else. Moreover, in course of time it is also not a rare phenomenon where perceptions of the same person might change substantially.
However, my point is whatever we 'see/show' or whatever we 'do not see/show' or 'cannot see' – everything is determined by our own ways of seeing. And the ways of seeing are built upon our chosen canon or conceptual framework. I wanted to bring forward this core issue with various works in this exhibition. The existence/co-existence (sometimes confrontation or interaction) of philosophies and cultures that emanate from the local/native life in relation to this 'age' of global market economy, enchantments of corporate success/rat-race have long been subject of my inquiry, interest and thoughts. In this exhibition I have tried to present my artwork -done in various mediums- shaped by those thoughts and inquiries. I am happy if people can 'see' it or 'not'. But I am not ready to take either of the responsibility of showing or obfuscating. Because, at the end of the day, I believe that enabling the ability 'to see' or 'not to see' anything is actually not an onus on me or my works.