I would paint atoms,  if I could

City artist Anjaneyulu Gundu had a solo show in New Delhi and that is a matter of pride for him and the city. Titled ‘Here, Now & Then,’ it showcased at India Art Fair last week

Published: 13th February 2018 10:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2018 04:19 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  Anjaneyulu Gundu is a dark horse who galloped gracefully and with amazing speed on the Indian art firmament. Reckoned for his hyperrealism, this painter has mesmerised his audience each time he exhibited his works. This Hyderabad-based artist is now having a solo show and that is indeed a matter of pride for the artist and the city. The selection of the objects he paints, the extreme detailing that goes into his craft and finally, his emotional quotient that is invested in his piece of art is indisputable. Recently, his solo exhibition ‘Here, Now & Then’, was on display at the India Art Fair, New Delhi, courtesy Art Alive Gallery. Excerpts 
 
What is it with objects that you paint each one of them as if you were commissioned by God?
I have a feeling for memories. I am mesmerised by the exquisite sensations they evoke on recollection. I am constrained to do something about them. The finished canvas is an attempt to address this yearning.
 
Detailing takes the breath away from the spectator. How do you manage it? 
It is like someone said, 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration. I barely manage it. If I could, I would even like to paint the very atoms and molecules that go into making these objects or subjects.
 
There appears to be an emotional bonding between you and the object you paint. Share with us your relationship with your subjects that are mounted before the spectator with so much dazzle?
I do not know if dazzle is the correct word here. But if these are indeed dazzling, then I really wish I could put on canvas the intense sensations that many times accompany the fond recollection of memories and feelings and sensations. These objects are my emotions. But probably not as much when you look on them, but as you recollect them. The minute details - like the wisps of cloud you saw floating by in the dazzling afternoon light, the chirping of crickets, the creaking of wooden wheels turning against greased iron and the aroma of porridge wafting over the breeze, and a thousand other details that I cannot ever hope of putting on canvas. I just, depend upon my hopes that they connect somewhere with the recollections of those who look on them.
 
When you relocate the object on the canvas the only binding aspect that follows with it is the shadow. And with much appreciation, we can see how dramatic the object appears. But, by librating the object from its environment do you feel that you are sacrificing the reference from the context? Rendering it like a museum piece to be looked, admired and assimilated?
Context is a complex matter. I bet, someone in a conflict zone would associate a context with a common object - say an empty crushed bottle of mineral water - that could be nothing like we from the more peaceful places associate it with. Context is dependent. Text is independent. Speaking of museums, there cannot be a more tantalizing museum than the attic of one’s own memories.
 
In the new series of works we can witness a bit more; such as the chicken perching on the ‘mancham’ and the sparrow perched on the ‘soda-bottle cart’. Is this a fresh approach to include more than shadows?
Often it so happens that an actual chicken or a sparrow or a crow or a grasshopper or a dragonfly was actually sitting where it was, but so many little details clutter the memory that I am forced to at least hint at one. I couldn’t possibly really paint all the detail that fill even one little fleeting moment of recollection. Even shadows do not escape the acuteness of memories.
 
In your earlier series, the steel pots or any other object of sheen mirrored abstract reflections. This aspect, along with the shadows, intrigued your spectator. Share your agenda of imposing this drama yet keeping your painting sanitised of any other form.
Bright reflecting objects are a challenge to execute faithfully. But objects that are dramatised on the strength of mesmerising backgrounds are essentially posed and arranged for aesthetic purposes - while the works in the current tranche are dramatised by themselves. Especially when extracted from my cluttered and crowded memory.
 
Your painting almost builds up like a sculpture on the canvas.  Do you have to say anything to this?
Well, you could say a painting is a flat sculpture or that a sculpture is a solid painting. But then it is just a way of speaking. In the perishability of paintings, it is a metaphor for the ephemerality of it all.
 
Share your current thought process with regard to your work and the methodologies you are planning to adopt.
To tell you the truth, I am not an organised sort of person. Those who saw me in my studio will vouch for that. But I do try to make amends by trying to arrange a satisfactory image in my mind’s eye even before I commit myself to the first stroke. I take elaborate steps against what I call sensory deprivation by constantly seeking out objects, places, persons, buildings, odds and ends and anything that catches my eye. I am always stocking up on everything from books, pieces of information, theories of all kinds and anything that will help make my mental notes. It is from these mental scrapbooks and collections of bric-a-brac that I select or chose what to put on canvas.
 
Do you have a personal recommendation for the viewer to approach a work of art? You can be specific if you like: any of your painting could be an example.
At the risk of sounding rather pedantic, I sometimes feel that art has become more of a thing; talked about than actually looked at. I am not really decided about whether this is good or bad, but I do find it strange. Sometimes I am amazed to read elaborate articles on operas and concerts while all the while wondering why someone would ever want to read about a concert than actually going out there and letting those notes do their thing to one’s ears. I do not know if I have made myself clear, but my only recommendation to anyone looking at anything at all is to just soak it in as well as to soak in it.

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