Wednesday, March 9, 2016

CPB series- In dreams,- Madhavan Palnisamy

The Chennai Phot Biennale is featured across the city at various venues. It is not easy for some one to visit all the venues, and it isn't easy either to give these wonderful shows a miss, so one thing or the other keeps nudging you to keep going to this biennale.

Of All the venues of the Biennale, Focus gallery was one of those that i had never been to earlier. Moreover the artist exhibited there sounded very tamil and further info revealed that he was a tamil writer's son, driving my curiosity to find out more.

As i entered the gallery and as i was walking through the exhibits wishing it would be nice to have the artist around, i come to this picture where a write up says the artist's father is featured, i take a moment to see if i can figure out this writer, with a little effort i recognise it to be the famous marxist writer Kovai Gnani ( Palanisamy). Then as i was slowly coming to terms with my discovery and the artist's second name, i was only wishing more that i could meet the artist. Just then Madhavan Palanisamy walks in. I was very thrilled and happy that my visit had now become a spectacular event.

Madhavan's Photo world is populated mostly by doll figures, not random ones but ones that are chosen to convey a meaning or evoke a feeling, set against a carefully chosen frame to set the context. His works are thus abstract frames that are set in a particular manner to essay a meaning. The absence of live objects and choice of doll figures adds to and enriches the abstract nature of the pics. 

The Baby doll set against an infinite cosmos is no doubt the best representative of Madhavan's repertoire.

Even the couple of pics that have a life form in them, are set so as to even abstractify the life form. For instance, one is bound to easily miss the woman fig all wraped in a silver foil set standing besides a book shelf, just as i did. But when you recognise the figure and catch the play of light as a result of the glow off her silver wrappa, the pic starts speaking a different essay altogether.

It was in a way disturbing for me to see that the Pic featuring writer Planisamy was also set to an abstract concept. when one walks to this pic with no idea of who this person is, one is bound to be overwhelmed and disturbed by the pathos that the sad, lost and  helpless expression on the persons face. a viewer struck by such a feeling, is bound to make no sense of the rooster featured beside the figure.

But when the viewer learns that, its the artist's father that is featured and that his name is Palanisamy, meaning Lord Muruga and that the rooster is a symbol associated with Lord Muruga, the panel throws a new meaning and comes to life. This is a brave attempt by the artist to bring together the personal and his artistic ambitions together. 

Another panel featuring the images of gutted rockyscape, cactus, a teary eye and a snake all together are set to convey a meaning. It would be interesting to find out what would be reaction and understanding of different people to the meaning conveyed by these panels.

Similarly, The pic of a tiger prowling on news paper, starts speaking volumes when you learn that it is a 'white tiger', but how does one know a white from an yellow one in a b/w pic.

Talking of colour, most of the pictures are set in black and white. And of the occasional colour, Pink seems to enjoy a special favour with the artist, and appears quite often.

 The little yellow featured is further embattlled by the choise of the flower, which is thin and delicate,  unlike a marigold or sunflower that can hurt your eyes with their rich yellow.

The artist has exemplifed his ablity to observe keenly and record in many instances.He seems to have a fancy for gutted rockyscapes, featured in more than one pic. The natural play of bright light and shadow on scuh a surface seems to bear a special appeal on this artist.

The show is a feast for the eyes with its sparse sprinkled bright colours amidst a rich tapestry of light and shade and as well as food for thoughts for one's mind to exercise and dwell on the abstract expressions offered by each frame.

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