Bahurupee in the Panorama: Writing and Artwork of K. G. Subramanyan is an online exhibition that brings together materials from the Museum of Art & Photography, Bangalore, and the digitised archives of Asia Art Archive in India. With K. G. Subramanyan’s writing as a starting point and guiding matrix, the exhibition forms poetic frameworks around his intuition, curiosity, and material knowledge, and explores these as the basis of his engagement with his surroundings.

K. G. Subramanyan (1924–2016) was a renowned artist, writer, and educator. Having studied in Shantiniketan in the 1940s, he moved to Baroda in 1951 and was instrumental in shaping the newly emerging Faculty of Fine Arts at MS University of Baroda. His multi-fold artistic practice includes paintings, outdoor murals, terracotta, and toys. He wrote extensively on art, craft, institution building, and negotiating with government bodies for the preservation of cultural forms.

The exhibition draws on two key ideas from Subramanyan’s writing: the “panorama,” from an introductory talk by Subramanyan titled “Art and Craft Panorama in India,” in which he describes dense connections within the visual arts scene in India; and the figure of the bahurupee from a catalogue text in 1994. Taking a non-linear and non-sequential method, we investigate the bahurupee—the impersonator, the imitator—which Subramanyan defines as a polymorph. On closer inspection, the bahurupee emerges within the panorama, taking on volatile forms and constantly reconfiguring the world around them.

For Subramanyan, “all art objects are bahurupee, where one object tries to play the role of another without fully surrendering its identity.” Following his playful imaginary excursions and discovering “a magic in the making” in the panorama, the exhibition takes the viewer on a meandering journey through Subramanyan’s artwork and writing.

The exhibition can be accessed here (audio feature included). 

A longer conversation between Co-curators Arshad Hakim, Vaishnavi Kambadur (MAP), and Samira Bose (AAA in India) on the process and methods behind the exhibition can be accessed online on AAA’s IDEAS Journal here.

Image: K. G. Subramanyan, Untitled, screen print on paper (serigraph), MAC.00785. Courtesy of MAP.
Image: K. G. Subramanyan, Untitled, screen print on paper (serigraph), MAC.00785. Courtesy of MAP.


Public Programme

From Writing to Seeing and Back: Online Exhibition Walkthrough
Date and Time: 25 May, 6–7pm IST
Venue: Zoom
Join the Co-curators for an intimate session where they share stories and anecdotes from the process of putting together the online display, and give a virtual tour of the exhibition. Please register for the event here

Image: Jyoti Bhatt, K. G. Subramanyan Preparing for the Live Puppet Show for Fine Arts Fair, Baroda, 1968, photograph. Courtesy of Jyoti Bhatt Archive, AAA Collections.
Image: Jyoti Bhatt, K. G. Subramanyan Preparing for the Live Puppet Show for Fine Arts Fair, Baroda, 1968, photograph. Courtesy of Jyoti Bhatt Archive, AAA Collections.

 

 

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