The presentation by Baiju Parthan & Sunil Gawde allowed us to examine the various paths they explored in the course of their artistic practice and provided us with a richer understanding of the exhibition "The Journey is the Destination" of which their work was a part.
Baiju Parthan was born in 1956 in Mumbai. He is a contemporary artist based in Mumbai, known for his intermedia works. While elaborating the workings of a mysterious inner universe through his paintings, Parthan has combined his painterly concerns with his explorations of cyberspace to produce a series of provocative, richly textured installations. He aims to generate fresh metaphors and symbols that have the potential to expand the range of meanings that we can wrestle out of life and reality.
The direction of his art took another twist after the artist got hooked to philosophy – the understanding of the self as perceived in the western and eastern ways of thinking. How you create art is defined by the way the self is organized. His quest to create is more to do with knowledge.
“Every new bit of knowledge is never undone, he believes, and tries and transforms himself through learning how far one can extend oneself into one’s own self, one’s family, the society and the nation. Having lived in an inflated personal bubble, engrossed in his own worldly pursuits, he decided at some point that maybe he was not being fair to the rest of his life.”
The artist worked with traditional media like painting on canvas and shifted to sourcing materials from newspapers, television, internet along with ancient cosmological diagrams, scientific charts and satellite maps as well as new media which range from interactive programming based art, large scale lenticular prints on metallic surfaces. Both these areas pose their own challenges and also expand the scope of what he can do. Parthan addresses the blurring boundaries in modern life.
Parthan has exhibited widely in India and abroad. He lives and works in Mumbai.
Sunil Gawde is a contemporary artist based in Mumbai. Born in 1960, he graduated from the J.J. School of Art in 1980. Despite his art education, Gawde chose to take a job at the Bombay Port Trust, where he worked until 1995. Through his tenure at the Port Trust, he remained alive to his surroundings, incorporating Bombay’s dockyards and wharves into his paintings. The peeling layers of paint on a ship’s helm, for instance, echoed his own philosophy of the canvas as palimpsest: “That is the logic of my paintings,” said Gawde, “to strip the overlayers partially, so that earlier histories may be revealed.”
Like his city he too is in a constant flow of transformation. Rooted in the tradition of being contemporary that is the leit motif of the city he brings an amalgam of unusual perspective married to a high degree of aesthetic sensibility. A multilayered philosophic underpinning to his output leavened by wit.
His important solo shows include Sour Amrosia at Gallerie Rabouan Moussion, Paris, ‘Swirling Blades’, ARKS Gallery London; ‘Radium Grass’, Macintosh Museum, Glasgow; ‘Oblique’ at Mumbai, Baroda, Chennai and New Delhi, ‘1mm’, Mumbai; ‘8 seconds ahead of time’, Bangalore.
His artistic life history includes important way stops at the 53rd Venice Biennale with the two ton kinetic piece ‘Alliteration’ in the Arsenal ‘Making Worlds’ at the 53rd Venice Biennale, was curated by Daniel Birnbaum in 2009; this art work was also re-exhibited at Kunstmuseum Bochum, Germany in an exhibition titled ‘Sparsha’ curated by Thomas Hensolt in 2014; the razor blade garland ‘Virtually Untouchable’ for ‘Paris-Delhi-Bombay..’ curated by Sophie Duplaix and Fabrice Bousteau, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France in 2011; the 12 foot stainless steel pendulum ‘Vicious Circle’ for the event ‘Finding India’ MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), Taipei, Taiwan 2010; the famous gigantic ‘Blind Bulbs’, dominating Jumeira Beach for the special project ‘Gulf Art Fair’ in 2007.
Sunil believes that travelling with the moment, connecting with the moment, keeps you relevantly vibrantly alive. He lives and works in Mumbai.