Illuminations Solo Exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery
‘’Art is like religion in many aspects. Its development does not consist of new discoveries Which strike out the old truths and label them errors (as is apparent in science). Its development consists of sudden illuminations, like lightning, of explosions, which burst like a fireworks in the heavens, strewing a whole ‘’bouquet’’ of different shining stars about itself.
One is often reminded of the above statement of Kandinsky while thinking of abstract art Kandinsky had said this about art in general – he didn’t have only abstract art mind but perhaps it is more true about abstract art .It is hardly surprising that Anwar, an important artist who has taken abstraction to spiritual depths and who ,incidentally, is an old friend of Anant Nikam, call his new solo exhibition ‘’Ibadat ‘’(worship).This title takes us to the deep truth of Kandinsky’s statement .I am reminded more of the term “Illuminations’’ in the context of Anant Nikam’s abstractions. In these paintings by Anant Nikam one discerns the “sudden illuminations “Kandinsky is talking about. This state of ‘’Illuminations’’ come after a deep and long ‘’sadhana (yoga -like practice) in the pictorial language of an artist. No wonder that Anant Nikam is seeking his abstract forms and colours in his extremely private solitude for a long time. The artist is no unseemly haste to bring his works to his viewers.
Years ago, Anant Nikam has done significant work in printmaking at Bhopal. The late J. Swaminathan had encouraged many a talented young artist at Bharat Bhavan Bhopal. Anant Nikam was one them. It is also to be noted that many young artists who are giving a new and original direction to abstraction in Indian art began as print makers. Artists like Anant Nikam have etched innumerable spiritualistic experiences on metal-plates with their creative instruments. This initial preparation and discipline has ushered them into a world of abstraction where terms like “worship”, “ Lighting” etc. acquire unprecedented relevance. Perhaps a printmaker knows the secrets of the labyrinth of abstracts colours and forms more than practitioners of other art-genres. He emerges as a better warrior and is more successful on this creative front.
I am reminded of yet another element as I look repeatedly and closely at these works by Anant Nikam. It is said about the music of great composer Mozart that it makes the listener more intelligent. But what is this “intelligence” after all? Certainly, this does not mean a high IQ score. It is the state of seeing things by entering into a higher, greater and better world. Abstract art also makes the viewer intelligent, even wise. There the viewer recognizes the original and primaeval language of art. Looking at these works by Anant Nikam I have always felt that I am somehow returning from that word as a “better”and more understanding person. The abstractions of Anant Nikam in mix media are explosive even in their deep peace. They are “Illuminating”in the real connotations of the term.