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Dramatic dialogue November 2, 2014

By Amarjot Kaur

Dramatic dialogue

Artist GR Iranna, through his creations, takes a dig at the socio-political system while exploring behavioural tendencies of humans

Often, when art is seasoned with perspective, it tenders a vision that dances attendance to the tunes of wisdom, thereby creating a dialogue that is both substantially significant and engaging. Perhaps, that is one of the many reasons behind GR Iranna\'s exceptional success as a painter, sculptor, and an installation artist.
Invited by the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi for an audio-visual presentation, titled Tempered Branches, on his body of work at the Government Museum and Art Gallery-10, Chandigarh, Iranna dissects his works with an analytical eye, giving us a little peak into his disposition as an artist.
Regarded as one of the finest contemporary artists of India, Iranna was born to a middle class farmer family in Karnataka, which as he says, left him with no other choice but to become an artist.
"I really had no other choice than to become an artist because there was not enough money in the family that could afford my studies as an engineer or a doctor. Also, my heart was set on art, so it required very little convincing to pursue anything other than art," he begins.
Known particularly for his ability to create a morbid satire on society and politics while exploring the behavioural tendencies of humans, Iranna weaves a dramatic dialogue between two contrasting elements that dwell on his perception of passive and active spaces. Quite evident in his painting series titled Mask, where he covers his subjects, human faces, with a cloth and his Where Is My Homeland series, the contents of which form the heads covered with maps leading to nowhere, Iranna explores expressionism while approaching it with poignant and hiding them instead, thereby making it even more conspicuous.
A similar undertone of dark sarcasm that takes a pungent dig on society and system is reflected in his installations like a charka on a hospital bed, Peace and Pieces, which showcased Buddha nailed on a toolbox and blindfold men bowing in prayer on a plank of wood with wheels, often used by the handicapped beggars.
When quizzed about the challenges that he faces as an artist, significantly while ideating, Iranna says, "The toughest part is to convince myself of the subject that interests me and to sift the right from the wrong and acceptance from rejection. In fact, every moment I struggle with the idea," he says.
While talking about his source of inspiration that articulates his need for revolution in society and political system, Iranna shares that he has always been sensitive to innocence. "Even as a child, I have always been sensitive to the idea of innocence and of how it is exploited. That is also the reason why I made a sculpture of a donkey, which in my opinion is the most hard-working innocent animal. In another sculpture, I gave my donkey the skin of a tiger," he says.
As he talks about the commercialisation of art, which in his opinion is necessary for an artist to sustain, he objects to the idea of succumbing his creativity to the market pressure. "We all work for money and for an artist, his works are like his emotions, which don\'t come with a price tag. So, the collectors and galleries determine the rate. However, I have and I never will accommodate my art and creativity to market manipulations," he signs off.
amarjot@tribunemail.com
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