‘NO’ encapsulates Bose Krishnamachari’s idea about self-respect and an artist’s innate desire to resist injustice. “Human beings all over the world are led by their idea of social justice. But at every other juncture they are met with the reality of injustice inflicted upon them by hegemonic forces. Through these works, I aim to affirm self-respect of a human being, to say ‘NO’ to certain visions and desires that I do not like to do or share,” says Bose Krishnamachari.
There is a sense of denial and resignation in Bose’s philosophical stance. It is like, ‘No-thing’, nothing to everything, Bose believes in maximum to minimum and minimum to maximum and for him every thing around him and by him is art.
‘White Ghost and The Red Carpets’, ‘Mahatma’, ‘Mondrian’s Tree’ and the ‘Stretched Bodies’ are the works presented in ‘NO’.
The installation ‘White Ghost and Red Carpet’ draws its inspiration from the Last Supper. Instead of human figures, the artist has used 13 chairs to symbolise the clout that builders wield in our cities. They could also be seen to represent power players like politicians, world leaders and the invisible lobby represented by the white skin (medium: Corian on wood). The chairs mimic our contemporary urban architecture of white boxes. Using 108 conference microphones and cables, the artist underlines the major role that the media plays in our present-day lifestyle that glorifies ostentation. Together with the red table and carpet, they add up to a celebration of power play.
‘White Ghost and Red Carpet’ is a sort of ‘re-presentation’ in NO. With small scale wars and calamities as the backdrop of the world, every leader today is trying to tell things to people. But the lingering ghost of injustice is not exorcised at all. One could hear the cacophony of statements by the world leaders in this sculptural installation.
‘Mahatma’ is a metaphorical expression of the artist’s own self in a diminutive form, against the monumental portrait of Gandhiji. As a world leader of the 20th century, Gandhiji stood for non-violence and Bose thinks he was one of the greatest ‘Conceptual’ political practitioners. His ideas might look irrelevant amongst the warmongering of contemporary days. But the artist seems to believe that Gandhiji’s relevance is affirmative.
In Mondrian’s Tree, Bose expresses his own idea of the East meeting the West. The great painting by Mondrian is used as a point of departure to create a tree, which doubles itself as an expressionistic shelf. Design concept proves itself to be an integral part of fine arts and it re-establishes the familial affiliation of fine arts with design.
The show, ‘NO’ as a whole is a re-looking at history. Though contemporary art does not anchor itself much on history, Bose recognizes that any art produced at any point of time cannot move away from history. Any visual mark is a registration in the historical process. The works presented in the show speak of history of the contemporary world, history of both war and peace, of both justice and injustice and above all the human beings’ die-hard fight for equal rights to live and justice.
In Indian agnostic philosophy there is a constant denial of the apparent to reach out to the implied truth. It says Neti, Neti (na iti, na iti, which means ‘not this not this’). The paradigms of truth are constantly shifted, demand for higher consciousness and awareness is forwarded and the ambiguities of appearances are debated in this philosophical stance. The notion of ‘NO’ played up here therefore becomes a juncture of negotiation with the reality. Denial is emphasized as a tool towards truth.