Of freedom of art

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 25 Jul 2017 10:24:46


 

By Vijay Phanshikar


 

 

“Art, even modern art, need not be instant. In the luxury of a little time, I can try to avoid some of the most obvious traps of the news. I am, like Popeye, what I am. I do not have to be the representative of anything, the authority on anything, the native informant, the local response. This individuality, however, rather than being the flowering of an enlightenment or Romantic ideal, is ephemeral -- the froth on the top of the wave. It is part of an active cyclic process that draws one thing into visibility and just as quickly buries it again in the larger, less defined forces driving the system. ...”
- Prajna Paramita Parasher,
in chapter titled
‘Analogue Language, Digital Voice;
Art in Diaspora’,
in ‘Voices’ Volume One,
Edited by Alka Pande,
Visual Arts Gallery,
India Habitat Centre,
Penguin Enterprise 2015.

This may be considered a truly great attempt to underline the innate sense of freedom that lies at the core of art. Even when Raja Ravi Varma went about producing some of the finest paintings in ‘realism’ school, his first inspiration was freedom -- of choice of subject, of medium, of manner, of art, of the intended effect on the connoisseur. And even as a pursuer of modern art goes about producing his work, his inspiration, again is freedom -- in all the aspects that offer to be the perimeter of the personality and its identity. No artist -- in any discipline -- likes to be framed, so to say, in what Prajna Paramita Parasher calls some of the most obvious traps of the news. Her concern, thus, has certain universality that lends the arts their uniqueness within the confines of democratic appeal.


‘Traps of news’ indicate the rigidity of the source -- of art -- or its form. These ‘traps’, thus, are very physical and terribly limited. And they also tend to attribute to the artist’s inspiration certain source, certain treasure-trove, certain repository of thought or idea or ideal or ideology which he may be expected to represent. But here, in this particular article, Prajna Paramita Parasher talks of an artistic inspiration that stems from nothing as its representative. Much to the contrary, it stems from the artist’s inner urge to express -- in the most independent manner, beyond some of the most obvious traps of the news, beyond the ‘instant’ tag.

For, even modern art, given its instantaneous and spontaneous nature, need not be trapped in the ‘instant’ time. Creation of modern art, thus, may even be a long-drawn process, a rather luxurious, pedantic manner in which the artist may approach the process of creation of his own work.


The thought extends deeper into the issue of individuality of the artist as a source of his inspiration:
... This individuality, however, rather than being the flowering of an enlightenment or Romantic ideal, is ephemeral -- the froth on the top of the wave. It is part of an active cyclic process that draws one thing into visibility and just as quickly buries it again in the larger, less defined forces driving the system. ...
This part of the artist’s identity is never
constant; it is changing constantly, it is as ephemeral as the froth on the top of the wave -- now it is there, now it is not there.


Of course, this is not a rejection of the component of individuality of the artist; it is, much to the contrary, an assertion that the art can fountain from a source that does not have to be the representative of anything, the authority on anything, the native informant, the local response. ...!
What an idea of freedom, this!
Most unfortunately, artists often fall prey to temptation of assigning some source, some representation, some reason for their expression or assertion. It is difficult to state why this keeps happening all over. But, going by the standard of freedom Prajna Paramita Parasher tries to set here, anything by way of what may be described as cause of
inspiration, everything has a terribly physical
limitation that is an anathema to artistic freedom.
Free art, so to say, flourishes well outside all those parameters and perimeters!