IPEP India 2013-14-15 – Catalogue
A COLLECTIVE VISION
Lina Vincent Sunish
Art Critic, Writer, India
Printmaking has always thrived in the collective; it is a social medium and is as much about expression as it is about sharing.
The history of printmaking as a fine art practice in India is short, but filled with interesting movements and the contributions of numerous artists who have shaped modern and contemporary Indian art. In the last two decades, with the rise of the ‘Indian art Market’ the medium seemed to see a steady decline in recognition, and patronage. Some of the reasons why it has been relegated to the periphery of art historical discourse in the subcontinent are the lack of awareness and understanding of the medium; a demanding market that undervalues work on paper (particularly those in editions); constant confusion of printmaking techniques with those of commercial reproduction; and the lack of community studios with facilities to practice printmaking.
The recent slowing down of the economy perhaps did a good turn to the medium, as its inherent qualities of being accessible and affordable by a larger public came to the fore. Among a series of exhibitions and collective projects working towards highlighting the intrinsic expressiveness of printmaking, is Rajesh Pullarwar’s International Print Exchange Program, which brings together nineteen artists from different backgrounds, nationalities and cultures, purely bound by their passion for printmaking. The artists’ preoccupations are varied, and the compilation is marked by its diverse content and imagery. Personal histories, collective memories, the experience of urban, environmental and cultural change – themes that are common to artists the world over, and that are consequently familiar – appear in the various representations. This provides a rich confluence of contemporary thought articulated through different (and similar) aesthetic choices and devices.
This project is an attempt at creating a common space for dialogue, both verbal and visual, through the power of the multiple: a collective vision ‘of the printmakers, by the printmakers, for the printmakers’.