HYDERABAD: Art enthusiasts in Hyderabad are often spoiled for choice with multiple great art shows happening at the same point. This time giving the trend a break, only Kalakriti Art Gallery is presenting Kalakriti Collective: The Print Show. The print, in India, has had an unusual if less-than-exalted history. Artists in the West have celebrated, experimented, worked with and exploited the medium of printmaking because it is recognised as a legitimate expression of art. In India, however, it has had to grapple with the prejudice that a print is a reproduction and not an original work of art. This myth has unfortunately stood the test of time, rendering the work of artist printmakers outmoded and thus, not as valuable, say, as a painting.
For the uninitiated, a print is an original work of art created and printed by hand by an artist or a professional printing assistant from a ‘matrix’ — a plate, block of stone, wood or stencil. The image is created on the matrix and the artist takes a limited number of impressions or prints off it. These impressions are numbered and signed by the artist and belong to a limited edition, and this makes the print an original work of art and not a reproduction. Printmaking consists of a wide range of processes: the current exhibit showcases etching (Aquatint) and serigraphs on to the paper.
“We wanted to showcase the prints collection as printmakers then didnt get their due often. It is now that printmaking gets the same stature as a painting. Earlier, no one used to consider prints as artworks, only as a means to create duplicates. Famous artists like KG Subramanyan, FN Souza, Anjolie Ela Menon and Sakti Burman are known for their paintings and as well as prints,” explains Ruchi Sharma, curator of the show. The exhibition charts printmaking’s eventful journey showcasing a series of 81 prints produced and printed by Santiniketan Society of Visual Art and Design, Santiniketan, 2003.
“The show examines the changes in themes, techniques and aesthetic triggered by modernism, whose first seeds are sown in Santiniketan and Kolkata and seen in the works of stalwarts like Rabin Mondal, Sunil Das, Somnath Hore, Sakti Burman, Manjit Bawa, KG Subramanyan, FN Souza, Anjolie Ela Menon, Amitava Das, Akbar Padamsee, Jogen Chowdhury, Thota Vaikuntam, Paramjit Singh, Manu Parekh, Madhvi Parekh, Jayshree Burman, and also the work of the contemporary talented printmakers represented by artists such as Veena Bhargava, Suhas Roy, Sudhir Patwardhan, Siba Prasad Kar Choudhury, Ranbir Kaleka, Pradip Rakshit to name few,” she concludes.