Saturday, June 15, 2013

Talking About Art With WeChat

If nothing were impossible, I would like to be a part of an adda with Leonardo da Vinci, William Blake, Pablo Picasso, Abanindranath Tagore, and Andy Warhol. I would want this chat to take place so that I could see how these visionaries think together. I would like to see what they feel about the place of art in our times, how art can repair the damage we have done to ourselves.
Leonardo was a polymath if there was ever one. He was also far ahead of his time in terms of creative thinking. His application to the Duke of Milan not only enumerates his usefulness as a war strategist and inventor but also supplies a plan B, listing out how he can contribute during peacetime. He laid down most of the basics of representational art that we now take for granted. His use of light and shade is stuff that legends are made of, especially in the context of 15th century art. Along with Bacon, Michelangelo and Galileo, he redefined the place of man in the context of creation, and created the concept of the renaissance man.


Vitruvian Man - drawing by Leonardo da Vinci
William Blake, born three centuries after da Vinci, was a visionary in the truest sense of the term. Not only did he have visions as a child, but he went on to document his worldview in words and paintings that his world was not ready for. He was outspoken and mystic at the same time, and even today, much of what he meant is only slowly realized by readers and viewers. Known more for his highly allegoric yet uplifting poetry, he was also a brilliant artist. His views on love, sex, religion, and society earned him some distrust from his peers, but in time, he was recognized as a pathbreaker.

Pieta by William Blake

If there are two names that one must take when speaking of modern Indian art, and if one has already mentioned Ravi Varma, the other has to be Abanindranath. Little known to the contemporary world, he was the man behind the creation of the Bengal School of Art. His greatest contribution to the emergence of modern Indian art was in the way he blended contemporary perspectives with the traditional Mughal, Rajput and Buddhist schools of art. Like all the others in this chat session list, he was not only a great artist, but also a gifted writer.


Ashoka by Abanindranath Tagore

The plastic arts began with the era of Pablo Picasso. Along with Matisse, Duchamp, and Dali, he created an entire movement that embraces all that is great about modern art. Known primarily for his role in introducing the world to cubism, he is also the forerunner of the avant garde movement, and he created his art not just through his paintings and sculpture but through his life. His political views earned him a few enemies, and he expressed his anti-war feelings through many of his paintings.

Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso

Andy Warhol revolutionized the image of the artist by bringing the definition of art down to the lowest possible denominator while adhering to the highest aesthetic standards possible. He was also an integral part of the new awareness of the 60s. Along with Lichtenstein and de Kooning, he was among the founding members of the pop art movement that challenged the very foundations of artistic expression.

Eight Elvises by Andy Warhol

What fascinates me is the possibility of a conversation between these five pioneers to see how they share their understanding of the role of aesthetics in the evolution of a new social conscience. One of my greatest regrets is that many of the brightest minds did not live to see our present era of instant connectivity and global dissemination of ideas. One cannot help but wonder what they would have been able to achieve in such a setting.

My generation takes global connectivity for granted, and while there is no denying that modern technology is being used for great good, there is much more that can be achieved through applications such as WeChat.

WeChat provides multimedia communication with text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, photo/video sharing, location sharing, and contact information exchange. WeChat supports social networking via shared streaming content feeds and location-based social plug-ins ('Shake', 'Look Around', and 'Drift Bottle') to chat with and connect with local and international WeChat users. Do check out WeChat's Youtube Channel to learn more.

This post was written for a contest hosted by Indiblogger.

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