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divine play vasant wankhede


august 2011

1, madhuli, shivsagar estate, worli, mumbai 18 tel: (022) 24965798 www.galleryartnsoul.com

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The vision which can be perceived by the mind cant be seen by eyes. The sings of inner nature can only be witnessed in itself.
Dasbodh, 48, Chapter- 7-4

Art does not have rules. Every artist with his experience and attitude of experimentation tries to achieve his unique style of expression; this is done by using various mediums. He tries to create a magnificent piece of art in that unique style throughout his entire life. In order to achieve this, his guru endows him with vision, In fact for that matter every individual possess such power, to some extent animals and plants are also gifted naturally with it. - Vasant Wankhede

It is the intention of God that everyone should perform the duties which are prescribed for him. If he does his allotted work properly, he attains God without doubt.
Dnyaneshwari, 911,18th Chapter

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Origins of Wankhedes art can be attributed to the rich tradition of painting bestowed by the J.J School of Art. The tool used by him to transcend his art is - Abstract Art. This as a tool of his creative expression is best attributed to the history of Indias modern art. The decade of 1960s and the then artists like V.S. Gaithonde, Lakshman Shrestha and S. H. Raza who used abstract art as the medium of expression and have made an impact on the Indian art scene. Wankhede agrees that his use of abstraction was achieved through practicing landscapes. In doing so he experimented by diminishing the impression of objects in his view by adding and subtracting. Wankhede enjoyed this process on the canvas and that was just the beginning for his creative explorations. Serendipity- also helped Wankhede. While working at the Government press he happened to notice the overlapped shapes of colours and numerous textures produced on rough papers. This was a result of using the rough papers to clean the print rollers and when these rough papers came out of the rollers they were transformed to various forms through the mixing of inks in no particular order. As an artist these abstract prints produced by the printing ink left a lasting impression on Wankhede.
the urge to abstraction is the outcome of a great inner unrest inspired in man by the phenomena of the outside world; in a religious respect it corresponds to a strongly transcendental tinge to all notions. We might describe this state as an immense spiritual dread of space1 - Wilhelm Worringer

(Krishna Addressing Arjuna) so I must be worshipped in my own being. Else whatever worship is done without knowing me becomes fruitless; and, therefore, only action backed by knowledge becomes flawless. Dnyaneshwari 350,9th Chapter

Vasant Wankhede, has, for the past 5 decades has dominated the visual art field with his meticulous dedication and rigorous but subtle hard work with experimentation. He realized his purpose in life is to be in leela ; which is the opening up of visual enchantment. Leela the divine play is the true spirit of painting and can only be identified and reached by the pious surrender of self, opines Wankhede. The artist within Wankhede is shaped by his introspective outlookand openness to experience the various phases of his art life as an artist. Following his Guru, Wankhedes excellence in painting evolved naturally. He is a Tapasvi (ascetic) who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of contemplation. In order to achieve this he practices the spiritual act of self denial. The simple truth behind this is testified in the reflection of his life. His simple abode in Goregaon where he has lived for the past 40 plus years, and his abstinence from normal pleasures of material satisfaction places this maestro on a different pedestal.

At one end there was natural and manmade reality which came as the view of a landscape and at other end the scattered, abstract and futile images as relics of machine. A new visual value was emerging for him from such neglected waste. In his childhood the machine had already etched a liking as a magical life entity, Wankhedes father used to ask his son to go inside a huge boiler to clean it and the boy got inside as a boy but came out as a boy fascinated and amazed by the gigantic life form as a machine as an independent entity. This, along with other vivid imagery might have remained in his subconscious, which shows its effect as an aptitude of inventiveness, especially in experimentation on various media and its successful transposition in art. These experiments consisted of using childrens drawings in a painting, use of waste printing papers in collage and finally use of bandage cloth and fabrics as extrasensory medium of painting. Vasant Wankhede is the only doyen exponent of fiber art in India which is oriented towards serious art expression than decoration or new media art. The tradition of clinging to pigments and their manipulations did not allow this rich form of art to grow; this orthodoxy has been responsible for making this art form less known to the Indian art field.

If someone unknowingly comes in contact with a slight touch of divinity, like sometimes a subtle breeze cuddles the skin and passes in a moment. For the one who goes through this experience, the biggest achievement or even world fame appears small and futile. Though for an artist this achievement is beneficial on a practical level, but not letting it affect the creativity is like going through an ordeal. The person who succeeds through this ordeal shines like gold. - Vasant Wankhede 6th June 2010

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Untitled Collage with Fabrics 40 x 36

Untitled Collage with Fabrics 40 x 36

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Untitled Collage with Fabrics 40 x 36

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Untitled Collage with Fabrics 40 x 36

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Untitled Collage with Fabrics 40 x 36

For if the vision is clear, everything can be seen with clarity. So with the attainment of pure knowledge, it becomes easy to comprehend the essential nature of things. Dnyaneshwari 527,18th Chapter

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As per the dictionary of arts and artists Abstract art depends upon the assumption that specifically aesthetic values reside in forms and colours, entirely independent of the subject of the work of art. This view has resulted in much art of a semi magical character, The same has happened here with Wankhedes art. He discovered the visual vocabulary around him in various materials and colour pigments, and the magical aspect was in the transformations of the used materials into an ethereal visual devise.
The term abstraction in art has two main applications. The first describes as non representational painting that is painting which does not refer to the visible world but only to its own intrinsic concerns. The second kind of abstraction is that which abstracts its image from the visible world.2

Of what avail are wings of eagle if they are given to a blind man? So good actions not based on wisdom are only wasted effort. Dnyaneshwari, 306, 9th Chapter

One day when I was walking with my guru in J. J. School of Art, he suddenly spoke (sun of wisdom) That sun is visible because of this sun (After pointing at sun in the sky he pointed towards Wankhedes forehead) By these words he bestowed a Vision to me We get to capture Wankhedes career as a professional in his own words I walked four steps in four decades (1965 to 2005) in my professional career, which started on 31st August 1965 when I had my first one man show at Taj Art Gallery. The 14 paintings exhibited in it were in black and white, water colours on handmade paper and the subject was Landscapes of Ruins- old architectural monumental buildings. This first show gave me success as predicted by my guru Shankar Palsikar. He had told me to forget colour and give him 50 paintings in black and white. Like a sculptor he sculpted me from a shapeless stone. In these four decades four major changes came in Vasant Wankhedes work. 1) Black and white water colour on paper. 1965 2) In colour, oil on canvas. 3) Paper collages 1977 paper from childrens exercise books and 4) 1990- Fabric Collages, totally abstract. Divine Play consists of Wankhedes recent works that display the same vigor and versatility, but the uniqueness of this exhibition is the display of his water colors, which are on show for the first time. What makes it further appealing is the declaration from the artist himself that this is his last exhibition. He faced lot of criticism from a few viewers of abstract art, who unaware of the experiential progression and nature of his work through the decades, criticized the absence of pigment. Wankhede, through his paintings shows the world that his passion is for the discovery of the unknown through known - the known aspect is sometimes the colour pigment and sometimes fabric. He is suggesting, in a way that for an artist like him, what is more important is the visual sublimation rather than the worldly achievement. This is very much the result of his pious and subliminal approach towards his life and art; he considers this as an inheritance, which is duly acknowledged by him.

Every perceived object comes with a bundle of visual elements like forms, colours, textures etc. Relationship of those elements creates a certain identity; this grasp of identity helps us every time to recognize these objects and their realities. The artist always tries to go beyond such everyday realities. Painting is a kind of new reality which is the culmination of the process of mind, the perception as the whole comes in to being through all the five senses anchored by vision. This vision is not generated only through the transmission of retinal image and its percept but it is created with complete consciousness, the consciousness of a total human being. For Wankhede the consciousness is about nothingness or being blank. This is the origin of the visual ideas which appear on the picture plane. In explaining this, he considers himself as an instrument, he starts from the very basic instrument used by a painter, the brush. He says, Brush is the extension of fingers, fingers are the extension of palm, palm is the extension of hand, hand is the extension of body, body is the extension of soul and my soul is the extension of my Guru. Therefore I am blank like a canvas; I dont work with a theme or a subject. Whatever happens is the Gurus wish. I dont work on a painting, it happens.

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Life = a multi fabric patched quilted blanket (Godhadi3) = Birth is the first piece of patch with the formation starts of this blanket and finishes with the last patch the death. Although one cannot predict its length and breadth, one can try to make it beautiful and artistic. Although this blanket is made up of mixed experiences having pleasant-unpleasant feelings, one can arrange them innovatively to make it attractive. We cannot predict which kind of experience we are going to go through, but with our watchfulness we can appreciate them in order to place them properly in the whole picture of life. Any experience is like an eternal thread, which appears to be like a fragment only because of the transitory nature of events. When this awareness of wholeness is realized, life becomes effortless, and this ease creates a sense of beauty. This experience with ease creates aesthetic contentment. The life transforms in to Satyam Shivam Sundaram (Truth is Eternal and Beautiful). This in itself is the Godhadi of my life. - Vasant Wankhede 16th October 2010
Note -Godhadi-Traditional quilts, or thin mattresses. Work done during leisure time by women in rural Maharashtra, These are re -cycled joineries of layered fragments of old fabric, like appliqu of sorts, have running stitches of white thread which hold together the diverse pieces of cloths, creating its own regular rhythmic patterns. Essay written by Nitin Arun Kulkarni (As part of a larger essay) Content: Conversation with Vasant Wankhede
References: 1. Worringer, Wilhelm, Abstraction and Empathy: A Contribution to the Psychology of Style, 1997, pg. 15 2. Duro, Paul and Greenhalgh, Michael, Essential art history, Bioomsbury, 1992,pg. 28. 3. Panikkar, Shivaji K. Baroda, August, 1998. http://www.shakukulkarni.com/godhadis.htm as accessed on 22.7.2011 4. Art and Psyche Online Journal, 2009 http://aras.org/notices/newsletter09-02.htm as accessed on 22.7.2011 5. Dandekar, S. V. (Mamasabh) Sartha Dnyaneshwari,Varkari Shikshan Sanstha, Alandi. Pg. 267, 727, 263 6. http://www.bvbpune.org/ as accessed on 21.7.2011 7. http://sanskritdocuments.org/marathi/index.html#Dnyaneshwari as accessed on 18.7.2011 8. Dasbodh, Geeta Press, Gorakhpur. Pg. 255 9. Manuscripts by the artist.

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Thou I surrender, in gratefulness Those, who in fifty years of my art career have directly or indirectly accompanied or helped me and encouraged me, I am extremely grateful to you all! I just carry the load of your belongings, my lord without any sense of self like this line of hymn (Abhang) of saint Tukaram, I have tried to remain self less. The miracle of shri. Pandurang, is unconceivable and unimaginable, this almighty is omniscient and the beholder of all. My Guru in art Shri. Palsikar and spiritual Guru Shri. Nakhate Maharaj blessed me with their unselfish embrace forever I will not be able to reciprocate
- Vasant Wankhede 8th August 2011 Untitled Watercolour on Paper 30 x 22

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Untitled Watercolour on Paper 34 x 23

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Untitled Watercolour on Paper 34 x 23

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You should, therefore, perform, without self-interest, the appropriate duties, which have fallen to your lot.
Dnyaneshwari, 78,3rd Chapter

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vasant wankhede
1936 1959 Born in Maharashtra, 28th April Diploma in Drawing and Painting, Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai. paintings in the collection of: National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi Glenbarra Art Museum, Japan Roopankar Museum of Fine Art, Bharat Bhavan Taj Hotels State Bank of India Lehman Brothers, India IDBI Aditya Birla Group Skypak Couriers Ltd. Sidney Gomes and several other private collections awards 1957, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1973 awards & recognition for films 1984 Silver Lotus for Animation (National Award) 1986 Silver Lotus for Direction (National Award) 1985 Deputed for Cambridge Film Festival

vasant wankhede
National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai Milan Museum, Italy H.Van Der Giesson, Holland Tanishq (Tata) Larsen & Tourbo Air India UB House Hotel Searock, Mumbai Mustan Currumjee Rustom Hormazdiyar

solo exhibitions 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1986, 1990 & 1993 1999 Retrospective 2008 Bodhana Foundation group exhibitions 1969, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1979, 2000 & 2003 select participations 1993 A Critical Difference-An Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art, touring 6 Cities in UK. Organised and sponsored by the Aberystwyth Art Centre and The Welsh Arts Council. 1996 Urban Signals . Shifting images Inaugural exhibition of the Birla Academy Of Art and Culture, Mumbai. 1996 Sixth Bharat Biennial of Contemporary Indian Art Bhopal 1997 50 Years of Art in Mumbai-1947 to 1997 Organized by the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai. 2004 The Search Organized by the National Gallery of Modern Art in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. 2005 Journey 2 Organized by Gallery Art & Soul, Mumbai. 2007 Unstretched Canvas- Inaugural exhibition of Bodhana Foundation, Mumbai 2009 V K Wankhede: Retrospective Exhibition Organized and sponsored by Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal. 2010 The Harrington Street Arts Centre, Kolkata Inaugural exhibition.

acknowledgements
Copyrights Divya Leela 2011 Gallery Art and Soul Copyrights2011 Nitin Arun Kulkarni, Mumbai, nitindrak@gmail.com All rights are reserved under copyright conventions. No part of this catalogue is to be reproduced or utilized in any form without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Reproductions of colors shown may differ from actual due to printing limitations. Produced & Published in India by Gallery Art & Soul. Catalogue Print : Spenta Multimedia, www.spentamultimedia.com

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1, madhuli, shivsagar estate, worli, mumbai 18 tel: (022) 24965798 www.galleryartnsoul.com

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